In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, encompassing the kingdom of God along with as Paul said, ‘the things concerning Christ’ (Acts 28:31).
In Part 2 we focused on the kingdom of God to be ushered in on earth by Christ at his return, of which we can be co-inheritors and rulers with Christ.
In this study we will look at ‘the things concerning Christ’, how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3).
Are we told that we can be made worthy of the kingdom of God to which we are invited?
2 Thessalonians 1:5 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
1 Thessalonians 2:12-13 NRSV
urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.
James tells us we can be heirs of the kingdom:
James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?
And Christ said we can inherit the kingdom prepared for us:
Matthew 25:34 NRSV
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
So how is this to be brought about? Let us first of all look at the people that scripture says will not inherit the kingdom!
Matthew 7:21 NRSV
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Galatians 5:19-21 NRSV
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:5 NRSV
Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NRSV
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.
So what chance do any of us have of inheriting the kingdom?
Look at verse 11:
1 Corinthians 6:11 NRSV
And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
BUT we can be washed, sanctified and justified! What great news!!
How can this be done? Paul tells us in first Corinthians what makes it possible for us to be saved and made worthy to inherit the kingdom – the other part of the gospel:
1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NRSV
Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
Let’s look at what Paul says in detail:
v1 – this is what Paul preached and it’s all part of the gospel.
v2 – this is how you are saved, if you continue to believe the truth that I preached
v3 – it’s critical what I told you and you believe it, first that Christ died for our sins – just as the scriptures said
v4 – he was dead and buried, but raised from the dead to life – as the scriptures said
v5 – how do we know this? He appeared to Peter, and then to all 12 of the apostles
v6 – then he appeared to more than 500 witnesses and most of them are alive now to tell it
v7 – then he appeared to James and all the apostles again
v8 – and he then appeared to Paul himself
This definitely happened, all these people witnessed it and most were alive to vouch for it at the time of writing – it goes on to say this proves there is a resurrection, and they were testifying that God raised up Christ from the dead, look at verse 20:
1 Corinthians 15:20 NRSV
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.
It’s a fact, and he is the first to be raised from the dead to the eternal life of the kingdom, verse 22 – and because he has been raised to life, we will be as well, if we are his!
1 Corinthians 15:22 NRSV
for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
When will that be? At his second coming?
1 Corinthians 15:23 NRSV
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
Will we be in the kingdom of God that will be delivered to the Father by Christ?
1 Cor 15:24 NRSV
Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.
Did Jesus say the same things to his disciples when he appeared to them after his resurrection, as recorded in Luke’s account?
Luke 24:44-47 NRSV
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Again, let us look in detail at what he tells them:
v44 – all that has happened to me was recorded in the OT scriptures, and had to happen
v45 – then he made them able to understand those scriptures, by opening their minds
v46 – he had to suffer and die, and be raised back to life from the dead
v47 – then repentance and forgiveness could/should/would be preached in his authority
And they were to be the witnesses of everything that had happened and all that he had said!
Luke 24:48 NRSV
You are witnesses of these things.
Did they carry out this commission to be witnesses? Look at the example of Peter in Acts 10.
Acts 10:34-43 NRSV
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
In verse 43 ‘believe in him’ doesn’t just mean believe ‘in the messenger’, it means to believe, to turn back to and be committed to the Lord God Almighty who sent him, to believe Christ to be who he said he was, and to believe the whole message that he brought from God.
Did John point out that by believing we may have life (that is eternal life of the age to come):
John 20:30-31 NRSV
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
You may wish to review our other posts concerning God and Jesus in ‘Categories’ on the right of the page. In studying ‘the gospel’ we are looking at the ‘whole gospel (good news)message’ Christ brought from God our Father.
Does Paul tie all this together in Colossians?
Colosians 1:12-14 NRSV
giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The gospel is the wonderful news of the magnificent hope of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through faith in our Father and Jesus Christ, His son, by whom we receive redemption. Yahweh God our Father is reconciling us to Himself!
Colosians 1:21-23 NRSV
And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NRSV
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
Is there power in this gospel message to those who believe?
Romans 1:16 CJB
For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.
Is this the power to be children of God, being transformed now, being made ready for the kingdom?
1 John 3:2-3 CJB
Dear friends, we are God’s children now; and it has not yet been made clear what we will become. We do know that when he appears, we will be like him; because we will see him as he really is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure.
Galatians 4:28-31 NRSV
Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” 31 So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.
Romans 8:12-17 NRSV
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
What will Jesus say at his return?
Matthew 25:31-34 NRSV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
We have seen that through His victorious, invincible, beloved son Jesus Messiah, our faithful and loving Father has sent a magnificent gospel message of salvation and reconciliation to Himself, and along with this, by what was accomplished through Jesus, has provided the means to bring it about for us!
He tells us that if we will believe Him, turn back to Him and accept what He offers, if we will continue and remain faithful we will not only be counted as Abraham’s children but His children along with Jesus, and be heirs to the kingdom which we shall inherit at Christ’s return.
Will we listen, will we believe, will we accept?