If you like this post, you might consider these others ones as well…
- Except a man be born of the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God (2014)
- The most powerful prayer to break strongholds (2010)
- Put on Christ – Gal 3:27 (2008)
- Jesus’ righteousness is the key to Christian overcoming (2006)
- Justified by faith (2006)
This is another one of those “summary posts” where lots of things I’ve blogged about over the years and many of the things I’ve written about in my journal all come together in one nifty revelation… and displayed in one nifty graphic.
As with this previous post (God’s eternal purposes are accomplished in Christ Jesus) the key scripture is the following
1 Cor 10:11 Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).
The things which went before are examples or good instructions… a type… a shadow of the things to come… and they are intended for us to learn from and benefit from.
To do this we have to grasp the full scope of scripture and put it into perspective… in one graphic!?
I’m not going to list all the scriptures… I hope you recognize them. Please read this graphic as 4 events with the earliest one (Eden) to the left and the latest one (entering the bride/Holy City) on the right.
NOTE: The little grey thing is a pile of dirt symbolizing all the uncleanness of this world which cannot enter in.
From the left… at first we were driven out because of a lack of faith.
What is faith? When we boil it down it is simply trust.
If a parent says to his or her child “don’t go near that open swimming pool” and the child listens – despite not knowing WHY it is dangerous – then the child is having faith in his or her parent.
When God said “don’t eat” to Adam and Eve and they didn’t have trust… they lacked faith. As a result uncleanness of all kinds (sorrow, sweat, hard ground) began to enter the world… and they were “driven out” of the garden.
If they had trusted God they and we would still be in the garden which was in Eden. Instead an angel with a flaming sword was put on guard at the entrance to prevent faithlessness and uncleanness entering into the garden which God made in Eden.
And ever since I can see a pattern of God showing us how to enter into His Presence. The same two issues appear over and over
- faithlessness cannot enter in and
- uncleanness cannot enter in
The two are linked. In a sense uncleanness comes from having faithlessness. Or. Faithlessness results in uncleanness (death, decay).
All those who did not believe that God could fulfill His words in the promised land – to give them the land – died outside in the Arabian desert. The two who had faith – Joshua and Caleb – entered in. Everything unclean was either humiliated or destroyed outside the promised land. You can read more about that in this previous post (God’s eternal purposes are accomplished in Christ Jesus).
Entering into the Kingdom of Heaven
For the sake of this post let us temporarily agree that the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and the Holy City are closely connected together enough so that when I only refer to the Kingdom of Heaven then you know that I am referring to one or all of these other concepts as well.
I feel comfortable semi-merging them because they are connected together in these verses…
But rather, you have come to
Mount Zion, even to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
and to countless multitudes of angels in festal gathering, and to the church (assembly) of the Firstborn who are registered [as citizens] in heaven, and to the God Who is Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect, and to Jesus, the Mediator (Go-between, Agent) of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]. – Heb 12:20-24
To the right hand of the image above there is an image of entering into the Kingdom of God… see below…
The title of this blog post is “Except a man be born of the Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” which is what Jesus Christ said in John 3:5.
Entering into the Holy City requires us to wash our robes in the blood the Lamb… which we know is Jesus Christ. Without being made clean we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
Without being clean we were unable to remain in Eden where we saw the face of God as if it was a natural and normal thing. In Rev 21 it says in the Holy City – which we agree is the more or less the Kingdom of Heaven – and in there we also see God’s face and He walks amongst us.
So the motive to clean ourselves in Jesus Christ’s blood should be a pretty strong motive for us!
So how do we cleanse ourselves in His blood? AND how can we be born of the Spirit (John 3:5)? AND how can we be born from above (John 3:3, 3:7)?
I feel for Nicodemus when he asked HOW can these things be possible? As Paul wrote in Hebrews “the way of holiness had not yet been revealed” (Heb 9:8).
But we know the way in. Jesus Christ said of Himself… I am the Door, I am the Way and in John 10:9 He called Himself the gate through which sheep can go in and find pasture.
Jesus is the way through the curtain
Scripture also says He is the curtain.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh – Heb 10:19-20
Jesus is the way through the River Jordan
Crossing the Jordan is the same as crossing the flood of Noah or crossing the Red Sea… all three are types and shadows of baptism according to these verses of scripture: 1Pe 3:20-21, 1Co 10:2.
Jesus is the way into the bride/Holy City
Col 3:1-4 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ” we have indeed already been raised up with Jesus Christ – if we have been baptised into Him through our faith – so we should already consider ourselves a spiritual body and a new creation. As those verses (Col 3:1-4) say we should also
- set your hearts on things above, where Christ is
- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things
One of the things I have discovered is that people are hoping to some day enter in… but we who have been baptised into Jesus Christ have already been raise up and seated with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
That is what He taught us over and over when he walked amongst us. He said the Kingdom of Heaven is within us and amongst us. He prayed that we would be where He is so that we can see His glory.
So now the solution to these problems looks like this…
Then why is this world (and our lives) still so broken?
But wait… if we HAVE been raised up… and yes we have… then WHY are we still not seeing the face of God, seeing Him walk amongst us… why don’t we experience all the freedom from this decaying world around us?
One answer is that we expect the Kingdom of Heaven to simply fall into our lap while we worship on sunday mornings… but scripture says we enter in with tribulations, violence, struggle, wrestling… that’s how we enter the Kingdom of God. The violent take it by force.
The second reason why we don’t see the change in our lives is found here…
For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but
the message they heard was of no value to them,
because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. – Heb 4:2
The reason – according to that verse – is that we hear it but we don’t mix it with our faith and declare it and act on it. Jesus Christ said in a Kingdom parable that scripture is the seed but that seed can and will be stolen from us unless it is received into a soft and obedient heart.
WHO is that scripture above is speaking about? It’s about the Israelites that were brought out of Egypt (bondage) who didn’t have Joshua and Caleb’s faith that God can do what He said He can do.
Like children who don’t have trust… or like Adam and Eve who didn”t have trust… you can hear these words but if you don’t have faith/trust and act on God’s words to you… you will not see the benefits.
In other words… I have written over 1,200 blog posts (!!!) in which I encourage you to believe God’s words to you… but if you refuse to believe and act in accordance to His words… then those words will not benefit you.
I like how the Amplified phrases that same scripture
For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them];
but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith
(with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe). – Heb 4.2
The piles of dirt that remain outside
It excites me to see just how clean this bride/Holy City is… how clean Jesus Christ made us through our baptism into Him…
But as for the cowards and the ignoble and the contemptible and the cravenly lacking in courage and the cowardly submissive, and as for the unbelieving and faithless, and as for the depraved and defiled with abominations, and as for murderers and the lewd and adulterous and the practicers of magic arts and the idolaters (those who give supreme devotion to anyone or anything other than God) and all liars (those who knowingly convey untruth by word or deed) – Rev 21:8
[But] without (outside) are the dogs and those who practice sorceries (magic arts) and impurity [the lewd, adulterers] and the murderers and idolaters and everyone who loves and deals in falsehood (untruth, error, deception, cheating). – Rev 22:15
The bride/Holy City?
You might be wondering why I join the bride and the Holy City together? It’s because scripture does…
“Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” and he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem – Rev 21:9-10
We have been told over and over that the bride is the church and if we go to church then we are a part of the bride.
But when you read Rev 21 and you see the bride in her pure splendor, absolutely clean, absolutely protected, constantly in God’s Presence… seeing His face and so much more… you may have to reconsider what you have been taught.
The brides that don’t make it to the wedding
Think back to the parables that Jesus Christ told about the marriage of the Lamb. Some of those invited did not gain entrance and it was because of a lack of faith in God’s words.
For 12 years I prayed for a specific person who showed no interest in me throughout those years. (I’m sure that happens to many men and women – it’s not unique to me.) During those 12 years I became intensely aware of what it must feel like for Jesus Christ because 2000 years ago He made a way in and yet almost all of His “followers” to refuse to come in to His marriage supper.
NOTE: I’m not saying that the majority of all believers will not be saved in the end.
But what Jesus Christ has done for us is here and now because we are already seated with Him. But we lack faith (Heb 4:2) and so God’s words are of no benefit to us.
As for me and my house…
I for one am determined to believe that God can achieve what He has promised. I will enter in.
Maybe I will see you in there. Or not.
After this I looked and a vast host appeared which no one could count, [gathered out] of every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. These stood before the throne and before the Lamb; they were attired in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. – Rev 7:9