Can we be confident that we will make it into the Kingdom of God?
The answer is a resounding, emphatic and unequivocal “Yes!” We will show from the Bible that GOD is confident—convinced—that those whom He calls to eternal salvation in this day and age WILL succeed.
Paul expresses his and God’s thinking in this regard in Philippians 1:3-6, as follows:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”
The Amplified Bible says: “… And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ… developing… and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
God does WANT those whom He calls to salvation to be in His Kingdom—His Family. He is confident, convinced, sure that His disciples WILL “make it” into His Kingdom. When God calls us, He ENABLES us, and therefore KNOWS that we CAN finish our race successfully. Our ability, sufficiency, or qualification come from God. This does not mean, however, that we cannot lose out on salvation. The Bible contains many warnings against taking our calling lightly. It is our responsibility to accept God’s gifts and use them and let Him complete the good work in us.
We must have the same confidence, persuasion and conviction that we, who are called today, WILL make it into His Kingdom. At the same time, we must prove to God that we mean “business,” so that our confidence is established on evidence—fruits worthy of repentance and worthy of the gospel—not only on wishful, unjustified thinking and illusionary hope.
Christ is our elder brother. He is the firstborn among many brethren. When He was here on earth as a man, He lived a sinless life. This was a requirement and also a necessity for our salvation, because if He had committed only one sin, He would have been disqualified as our Savior.
Both the Father and Jesus Christ had the absolute conviction and complete confidence that Jesus would NOT sin. This does not negate the fact that Jesus, as a man, having become totally flesh as we are flesh and blood today (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3), COULD have sinned. He had to struggle against sin so that He remained sinless throughout His human life (compare Hebrews 5:6-9; 12:3-4).
We read throughout the Old Testament, long BEFORE Jesus became a man, that He, as the Messiah, would succeed in the flesh (Isaiah 52:13, so the Luther Bible and the Menge Bible; the Revised English Bible says: “My servant will achieve success…”) and that He would subsequently rule as a glorified God being—with the glorified saints—on and over this earth in the Kingdom of God (compare for instance Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:44; 7:9, 13-14, 27; Zechariah 14:3-5, 9).
That rule could only become possible if Jesus, as a man, would remain sinless. If He had sinned only once, He would not and could not rule, and neither could any of us. This means that God the Father had complete confidence in Christ that He would not sin. It also appears that God, who inspired the Old Testament prophecies, might have looked into the future beyond Christ’s First Coming, knowing that He would remain sinless, as otherwise, none of the Old Testament prophecies, predicting as a certainty His rule on earth as the Messiah, could come to pass.
Today, God the Father and Jesus Christ have the complete confidence in us that we will make it into the Kingdom, with Jesus Christ living His life in us (compare Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27; Romans 8:9-10; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 3:17). Of course, God and we know that unlike Jesus Christ, we will not be able to live completely sinless lives, but when we sin and repent, confessing our sins to God, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God knows that MOST of those whom He has foreknown, predestined, called, chosen and justified in this day and age WILL make it as glorified beings into His Kingdom. Romans 8:28-30 states:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
The German Luther Bible conveys the meaning in a clearer fashion, stating it this way: “…Moreover whom He has predestined, these He has also called; whom He has called, these He has also justified; and whom He has justified, these He has also glorified.”
The apostle Paul makes this statement in a way that we who have been foreknown and predestined to be called in this day and age are already glorified, but in reality, we are not yet glorified. However, it is a foregone conclusion in Paul’s mind that we WILL BECOME glorified in the Kingdom of God at the time of Christ’s Return.
The apostle John had the same conviction. He said in 1 John 3:2:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
Again, there was no doubt in John’s mind that we WILL BE like or, insofar as our outward appearance is concerned, equal or identical with Christ—that we will appear in His glorified likeness, bearing His glorified image (1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 3:18; compare again Romans 8:29), just as Christ is the glorified image and likeness of God the Father (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3).
As Christ was, in that sense, equal with God before He became a man (Philippians 2:5-6), and as He obtained again that equality with God, when He was resurrected to an immortal God being, so will we.
But John goes on to say in 1 John 3:3: “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” He makes clear that we cannot (continue to) live in sin, but barring this, our glorification is guaranteed.
Paul and John are echoing what Jesus Christ Himself had said in John 17, when praying to the Father just prior to His arrest. He began by asking the Father to glorify Him with the glory, which He had with the Father before the world was (Verse 5). But then, He continues, in verses 22-24:
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one… Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
When Christ spoke these words, He had not yet received His glory from the Father—He was not yet glorified—and His disciples were not yet glorified either; they had not yet received the glory which the Father would give Christ. But these powerful words of Christ show His absolute conviction that His brethren would receive the glory which the Father would give Him.
The reason for such bold statements can be found in Romans 4:17, where we read:
“God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
The Amplified Bible says it in this way: “God… speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.”
God has promised us eternal life and the glorification as God beings in His Kingdom, and so He describes these future facts in a way as if they had already occurred. Again, this shows His unwavering faith in us and our future.
This is the kind of faith, which we can have too. We read in 1 John 5:14-15:
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
Again, we are praying to God that we will be qualified to enter His Kingdom. This is most certainly a prayer in accordance with His Will, as He wants us to be in His Kingdom. And so, when we ask Him this, we know that we have already received the petition that we asked of Him. Our confidence then is such that we know that we will be in God’s Kingdom.
Paul was confident that his crown was awaiting him and Christ would give it to him when He comes. He said in 2 Timothy 4:8:
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
How could he be so sure? Here is why: He said in verses 6 and 7:
“… the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”
Peter had also no doubt about His future in God’s Kingdom. He would remember that Christ had told him that He would pray for him that his faith would not fail, asking him to strengthen the brethren after his conversion (Luke 22:32). And he would have also remembered Christ’s words to him and the other apostles telling them that they who had followed Him (that would exclude Judas Iscariot who did not really follow Him) would rule in the future over the tribes of Israel in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19:28; compare also Luke 22:28-30). Again, there was no doubt in Christ’s mind that they would be rulers in God’s Kingdom. He stated this as a fact.
With the same persuasion with which Christ declared that His early apostles would be in God’s Kingdom, He declares today that you and I will be in it, as we are called today to salvation, as long as we do not decide to abandon our potential. But as long as we remain faithful (Revelation 17:14), we will be with Christ in God’s Kingdom and Family when Christ returns. God counts on it; and so must we.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link