Can I Enter the Heavenly Kingdom After My Sins Are Forgiven?
The protagonist has been serving the Lord for many years. He’s always thought that thehas redeemed us from sin, and that as long as we keep preaching and working for the Lord we’ll enter the heavenly kingdom. But some brothers and sisters have a different opinion. They say, “The Bible says no man shall see the Lord without holiness. If we live in the cycle of sinning and confessing, how can we enter the heavenly kingdom?” The protagonist was also puzzled about this. Later, in a co-worker meeting, a co-worker’s fellowship gave him the answer. Please read this essay: The Condition for Entering the Heavenly Kingdom.
By Cao Rui
Every time I recalled that the Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross to redeem us from sin, and that He’ll come back to bring us into the heavenly kingdom, I felt the Lord’s love was so great. I was very grateful that I could receive such great grace from the Lord, and I firmly believed that I could enter the heavenly kingdom due to His salvation. But when my co-workers and I were talking about entering the heavenly kingdom, a brother said, “Jehovah God said, ‘you shall be holy; for I am holy’ (Lev 11:44). But now we are still living in the cycle of committing sins and then confessing them. If we go on like this, can we enter the heavenly kingdom?” A sister said, “The Lord has absolved our sins, why can we not enter the heavenly kingdom?” Brothers and sisters all had their different opinions. I also felt puzzled about this question. It was not until I met a co-worker that I understood this aspect of truth.
It was sunny that morning and the sky was clear. Co-worker Li and I were going to Sister Guo’s home to discuss something about the church. When I stepped into the room, I saw Co-worker Shang who I hadn’t met for over two years. Co-worker Shang had served the Lord for many years, and he willingly expended and worked for the Lord. His fellowship about the truth was very insightful. Since I met him here, I believed there must be the Lord’s good purpose in it. So I decided to ask him about this question. I called Co-worker Lang, Co-worker Jiang, and Co-worker Han to join us.
When we got together, I said, “Brother Shang, I have been puzzling about a question all along. Could you please fellowship with us about this?” Co-worker Shang said smilingly, “Thank the Lord. My understanding is also limited. Please bring up your question and let’s fellowship together. May the Lord guide us!” I nodded and said, “I’ve been thinking: The Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross for our sins, redeeming us from the hands of Satan; and it was for saving us and bringing us into the heavenly kingdom. Although we still sin and haven’t truly attained sanctity, the Lord has forgiven our sins and we have been justified by our faith; so we can be raptured into the heavenly kingdom. However, some brothers and sisters still doubt. They say we still often sin and confess and haven’t attained sanctity yet, and that the Lord is holy and no one can see the Lord without holiness. Can people like us be raptured into the heavenly kingdom? We have no idea how to answer this question. Please fellowship with us.”
Brother Shang nodded slightly, and said, “In the past I had the same thought. Because the Lord Jesus had successfully redeemed us and absolved all our sins, He won’t treat us as sinners; so when He comes back, we can be directly raptured into the heavenly kingdom. However, after I discussed this question with other co-workers, I knew this thought came from my imagination. The Lord Jesus has done the work of redeeming mankind, that’s for sure. But He once said, ‘Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Mat 7:21). Jehovah God also said, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1Pe 1:16). According to God’s words, we can be sure that those who enter the heavenly kingdom have freed themselves from sin and have been cleansed. They are the ones who can do God’s will, obey God, love God, and revere Him. Because God is holy and those who enter the heavenly kingdom shall live with Him, if we have not been cleansed, how could we be qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom?! The Lord Jesus has absolved our sins, but he never said that we have been totally cleansed through this absolution and are now eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom …”
Co-worker Lang interrupted Co-worker Shang. He said, “Wait a minute, brother Shang. Your fellowship accords with the Lord’s will, and I admit it. But the Lord Jesus was personally crucified for us; He shed His blood for us. Now that the Lord Jesus has forgiven us of our sins, we have no sin. Is there any need to worry about not being able to enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Co-worker Jiang agreed with him. She said, “Yes! Brother Shang, the Lord has forgiven us of our sins, so we have the promise to enter the heavenly kingdom. The Bible says those in Jesusare not condemned. So we are sure to enter the heavenly kingdom.”
Co-worker Shang fellowshiped, “Co-worker Lang, sister Jiang, this is how I see it. We all know that even though the sins of us have been forgiven after believing in the Lord, we have still not been cleansed; we still sin and resist God often. God clearly told us, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy’ (1Pe 1:16). ‘Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven’ (Mat 7:21). From God’s words, we can be sure that even though our sins have been forgiven, we are not eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. People must be cleansed; they must become doers of God’s will before they can enter the heavenly kingdom. This is an irrefutable fact. We don’t become cleansed just because our sins have been forgiven. We must first obtain some reality of the truth and earn God’s praise. Then we will be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom. If we do not love the truth and in fact are weary of it and even hate it, if we only think to enter the heavenly kingdom but do not care for God’s will, much less to say do God’s will, are we not doing evil? Does the Lord praise this sort of person? If so, we are just like those hypocritical Pharisees: Even though we’ve been forgiven of sin, we are still not able to enter the heavenly kingdom. This is an indisputable fact.
Let’s continue fellowshiping: The Lord Jesus absolved us of our sins. What sins did He absolve? The sins of betraying God’s laws, commandments, or words. Because man in the Age of Law betrayed God’s laws and commandments and was thus condemned and punished by His law, the Lord Jesus came to do His work of redemption. Thus, we only need to pray to the Lord Jesus and confess and repent our sins and He shall absolve us. After that, we will no longer be subject to condemnation and punishment according to His law. God will no longer treat us as sinners. So we can pray directly to God; we can cry out to God and share in His abundant grace and truth. This is the true meaning of the ‘salvation’ that we often spoke of in the Age of Grace. This salvation has nothing to do with being cleansed and entering the heavenly kingdom. For the Lord Jesus never said that all who have been saved and absolved can enter the heavenly kingdom. He only did His work of redemption to absolve mankind of sin, making them righteous through faith and saved through faith, but He never absolved us of our satanic nature. Our inner arrogance, selfishness, deceit, evil etc., that is, our corrupt dispositions, still remain. These things are deeper than sin. They are much harder to resolve. If the satanic nature and corrupt dispositions which are so resistant to God have not been resolved, we cannot help but commit many sins. We may even commit sins that are even worse than breaking the law, that is, the more egregious sins. Why were the Pharisees able to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus? How could they crucify Him on the cross? This proves that if the satanic nature of us human has not been resolved, we can still sin, resist God, and betray God.”
Co-worker Han nodded and said, “After listening to your fellowship, I thought that the Bible said, ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries’ (Heb 10:26-27). After years of believing in the Lord, we all experience one thing ourselves, that is although our sins have been absolved, we still can’t resist sinning constantly. If we don’t solve our problem of committing sins, we won’t win the Lord’s approval; and instead we will be abandoned or eliminated by God.”
Co-worker Shang said composedly, “That’s right. And at the same time we can see that we mankind are deeply corrupted, but since God saves us, He will save us thoroughly. The Lord Jesus said, ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (Jhn 12:47-48). We have been redeemed by the Lord Jesus, but we still live in our satanic disposition, frequently sinning and resisting God. We must experience God’s judgment and salvation into be completely freed from sin and be after God’s heart. Only then will we be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom.”
Hearing Co-worker Shang’s fellowship, I felt a brightness within. It turns out that we won’t be freed from sin and enter the heavenly kingdom without being judged by God. In my years of believing in God, I have deeply tasted that even though I can avoid some outwardly obvious sins, I still often go against the Lord’s word. I still involuntarily defend myself, and lie, trick, and cheat for the sake of my fame, position, and my own interest. When I encounter pain and tribulations, I don’t say it out loud but I often complain to God in my heart. This is all fact. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak” (Mak 14:38). I’ve always believed that after I believed in the Lord, my sins were absolved andt I can be raptured into the heavenly kingdom. However, the Lord prophesied, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14). We haven’t takenas life, and we lived in the cycle of sinning and confessing all day, how could we be qualified to enter God’s kingdom? Without being judged and cleansed by the Lord’s word, our disposition could not be changed, and we really don’t reach the condition for entering the heavenly kingdom. Thank the Lord! I gained a lot in this meeting.
For free resources on how to enter the Heavenly Kingdom, read here: Kingdom of Heaven. We sincerely hope we’ll grow spiritually through sharing with each other.
• You might be interested in: How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven?