How Can We Experience the Joys of the Kingdom?

In verse 27 of Revelation 21, John tells us that,

“…nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Re 21:27)

And again in verses 14 and 15 of Revelation 22, John tells us that only

“…those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Re 22:14–15)

Clearly, not everyone is allowed to enter and experience the joys of the kingdom. What is that dividing line? What determines whether a person is in or out of the kingdom? In other words,

How can we experience the joys of the kingdom to come?

In verse 27, John mentions the Lamb’s book of life. He tells us that our names have to be written in it if we are going to enter. As well as he tells us that no one who is unclean will be able to enter.

How do we become clean?

In order to be clean, we have to have had our robes washed. It is not clear from this verse how or in what way our robes must be washed, but back in chapter 7 in verse 14, John tells us that those who have already entered into Jesus’ presence have washed their robes in the blood of Christ.

How can we wash in the blood of Christ?

The blood of Jesus isn’t a product we can run down to Walmart and purchase. How, then, can we have our robes washed in Jesus’ blood? The only way we can wash our robes in the blood of Jesus is to believe the gospel.

The gospel

The gospel is shorthand for good news. In biblical terms, the good news is that Jesus has taken our punishment for us. You see, we are sinners who have sinned against God. In other words, we live in rebellion. We want to do our own thing. As those who have rebelled against God, we deserve to be punished by Him.

But God sent Jesus, who not only lived a perfect life but also died the death we deserve. He took our punishment on Himself when He hung on the cross at Calvary.

All those who would admit that they live in rebellion to God and deserve His punishment for doing so, as well as all those who believe that Jesus suffered and died in our place, in order to make a way for our relationship with the Father to be repaired, all those who would repent and believe those things will be covered or washed in the blood of Christ.

When the Father looks down on us, He doesn’t see an unclean people but a people who have been made holy through Jesus’ blood. As a result, we are able to enter and enjoy the blessings of the kingdom to come.

No other way

Apart from repenting and believing in Jesus, there is no other way to enter the kingdom and enjoy the blessings that come with it.

Open to all

The good news in all of this is that the ability to be washed in Jesus’ blood is open to all. Look at verse 17 of chapter 22,

“The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Re 22:17)

We all can come. Coming costs nothing. We don’t, nay we can’t, pay for the water of life. It’s freely given to those who repent and believe.

So if you haven’t yet repented and believed, heed Jesus’ words and come. If you are thirsty and desire life eternal, come. If you want to experience the joys of the kingdom, come. Come to Jesus!

If you have turned to Jesus, and if you do believe in Him, then praise God because you have a perfect world, ruled by a perfect King, with unhindered access to God to which to look forward.

Question for Reflection

  1. Will you be a part of the kingdom to come?

Resources

Post developed from my sermon The End of God’s Restoration Project

This World is Heaven to the Non-believer

“Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O Lord, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.” (Ps 17:13–14)

Those who don’t follow the Lord only have this life. There is nothing better for them. The world in which we live now is their heaven because the world to come will literally be their hell.

Our World

When we consider the world in which we live, we know that this is not heaven. Murder, rape, war, genocide, disease, and death occur every day somewhere in this world, if not in our own backyard. As we witness these atrocious acts, everything inside of us screams for something better. The secularist tries to bring that better world into existence by exercising political power, social pressure, and legislative change. But the world for which we long can’t be brought about in these ways. In fact, the world for which we long will never exist this side of Jesus’ return because the world in which we live is corrupted by sin.

Our Hope

At Jesus’ return, however, He will deal a final blow to sin, and He will eventually usher in the new heavens and new earth. Then, and only then, will this world be free from sin, and, subsequently, free from the corruption of sin (Rev 21). Because Jesus is reconciling all things to Himself through the blood of His cross we can experience the world for which we long (Col 1:20).

Only for the Christian

But the world for which we long is only for the Christian. It is only for those like David who submit themselves to God and live according to God’s will (Ps 17:3-5). It is only for those who have turned to Jesus as Lord and Savior. If that is not you, then this world is your portion, it is your heaven, it is all you have to look forward to.

Question for Reflection

  1. Have you repented of your sins and turned to Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Resource

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The Hope of the After-Life

Clouds

Our Life on this earth comes to an end at some point. We know that from experience, and Paul tells us that in 2 Corinthians 4 and 5.

An Offering of Hope and Comfort

While that is true — that our life does come to an end on this earth at some point — Paul also tells us something else in those two chapters. Something that should give us hope and comfort, especially when we are mourning and grieving the loss of a loved one.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that:

An eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison [is being prepared for us]” (2 Cor. 4:17c)

Then down in verse 1 of chapter 5 Paul tells us that,

We have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens [waiting for us]” (1 Cor. 5:1)

What Wonderful Promises

How great is it to know that this world isn’t the end for us. There is life after death, eternal life, life for the Christian that is beyond comparison. Life that the best day you have ever had doesn’t even compare.

Right now I want you to picture the best day you have ever had in your life. When you have that picture in your mind, know that day was just a slice, a sliver, a blip on the radar compared to the life the Christian will experience for all eternity.

Question for Reflection

  1. As a Christian, how do the promises found in God’s Word concerning life after death encourage you to live now?