Entering the Kingdom
Good Samaritan Institute
New Delhi, India
Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence,
and the violent take it by force." Matt 11:12. Paul,
exhorting new disciples said, "We must through much tribulation
enter into the Kingdom of God". Acts 14:22.
Our Lord was saying in plain words that the terms of entry
are tough. The apostle Paul with much earnestness warned that
we must undergo many hardships in order to enter into the
Kingdom. I picture a recruiting office where men are selected
for the Army. Many apply, but only a few are selected. The
term of entry are hard; thus many do not qualify. It is the
same with the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult
is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find
it". Matthew 7:14 NKJ. But, over the years, men have
removed the gates and widened the gateway, to make it easy
for all to enter. Divine standards have been lowered to fit
in with man's carnal desires, and the sharp edge of testimony
has been blunted.
Christianity today is a "mixed multitude," a far
cry from the Church in Acts, when "none ... dared join
them, but the people esteemed them highly". Acts 5:13.
God's standards were clear, and not many could easily identify
with them. The terms of entry were hard. Unless present day
believers realize this, they will not be part of the next
move of God that is anticipated.
The day of Pentecost saw a big intake into the Army of God.
What were the terms? Repent, be baptized, and receive the
Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And Peter continued to testify and
exhort them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation".
Acts 2:40. The gate was still narrow.
There is no substitute for the word "repentance."
It is vain to look for any. Yet this word is not much heard
today, not even in many evangelistic crusades. Some use the
word, but only to mean, "saying sorry" to God. True
repentance, however, is a whole-hearted, uncompromising renunciation
of the old ways. It is a total change of heart, that always
results in a change o direction: forsaking our own ways, and
following after Christ.
Many are trying to slip into the Kingdom without coming
through the narrow gate. Once a rich young ruler came to Jesus
and asked, "Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal
life?" The young man apparently was a good man, who had
always kept the commandments. But Jesus said, "You still
lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the
poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow
Me". And this very rich man became very sad, and went
away. See Luke 18:18-23.
Many today would have run after the rich ruler and said,
"Listen, don't take it so seriously. Jesus did not mean
it that way. You can agree to sell some now, and maybe you
can sell more later. Meanwhile, go home and pray about it".
But no, that was not God’s way. Jesus let him go. He
loved him, but He did not lower the divine standards. Beloved,
following Jesus is not on our terms, if we will enter His
Kingdom, it must be always on His terms.