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Entering the Kingdom of God

08 Mar
Kingdom of God

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Peter claims in 2Peter 1:11 that the believer who cultivates the characteristics he mentioned in 2Peter 1:5-7 will be granted an abundant entry into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, when he speaks of the Kingdom, is Peter referring to salvation or something else? It seems Peter is referring to something else, because his epistle is addressed to believers who have already obtained the same kind of faith the apostles had (2Peter 1:1). It is in this same faith to which believers are to add these things in their new life in Christ.

In Luke 19 Jesus gives a pound (the gift of faith) to each of his servants, or those who already believe in him, while he went into a far country to receive a kingdom and return (Luke 19:12). After a period of time Jesus had received the Kingdom and returned (Luke 19:15) both to reward his servants (Luke 19:15-26) and to judge those who rejected his authority (Luke 19:14, 27). Therefore, Peter’s readers can make their calling and election certain by exercising themselves after the manner in which Peter advised in 2Peter 1:5-7.

By taking Luke 19 into consideration, we can understand that Jesus had to leave and then return before the Kingdom of God would be established upon earth (Luke 19:12, 15, 27). In the Olivet Prophecy Jesus told his disciples that, when war would break out and armies surrounded Jerusalem (Luke 21:20), they would know the Kingdom of God was about to be fulfilled or be established (cf. Luke 21:31-32). It seems that the Kingdom of God came with the coming of Jesus to his Messianic throne and his judgment upon Jerusalem in 66-70 AD (cf. Matthew 24:3, 30). This seems to be a very important point concerning the Gospel. In fact, it is the only sign Jesus gave to his disciples and to his enemies that he was, in fact, the Messiah and come to his throne (Matthew 24:29-30; cf. 26:63-64).

Nevertheless, Jesus said not everyone who called him Lord would enter his Kingdom (Matthew 7:21-23; 25:11; Luke 13:24-27). Rather, it is entered only by the one who humbles himself as a young child (Matthew 18:3-4). It is entered by those who are poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), even by those who are persecuted, not for their own righteousness (Matthew 5:20), but for the sake of the righteousness of God (Matthew 5:10; Romans 3:22; 10:3). The Kingdom of God is not a place one could see with his eyes (Luke 17:20). Rather, it is spiritual in nature, because it is within man (Luke 17:21). In fact, unless a man is born again, he isn’t even aware of the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Therefore, receiving the gift of faith doesn’t automatically grant entry into God’s Kingdom, but adding those things Peter mentions in 2Peter 1:5-7 does (2Peter 1:11). In other words, an abundant entry into the Kingdom of God is granted to the believer who so extols (G703) God, that he continually reaches out to know (G1108, gnosis) his Lord more and more, taking measures to so discipline (G1466) his behavior that he would become like Christ, being willing to endure (G5281) any cost in order to be called his disciple.

Moreover, this abundant entry into God’s Kingdom also requires the believer to be publically devoted (eusebeia – G2150) to God, showing himself kind (philadelphia – G5360) to others but especially to those brethren who are likewise devoted to God, and in all this the world would be able to see and witness the love (agape – G26) of God in the believer. This one would be identified by the world, not simply by the name Christian, but as a disciple of Jesus (John 13:35). When the believer so cultivates his life for Christ’s sake, he is granted an abundant entry into his Kingdom (2Peter 1:11). All this operates in and through the correct knowledge (epignosis – G1922) of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2Peter 1:8)—i.e. through the Gospel.

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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Epistles of Peter

 

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