Tag Archives: kingdom of heaven

Citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven

“Hey, Ron – I just need to say that I believe in Jesus to go to Heaven, right?” Not exactly. Neither God our heavenly Father nor Son we call Jesus need or want our affirmation. They seek willing partners to introduce other people to the Kingdom of Heaven now and to join them in the age to come (2Corinthians 5:17-20, for instance). So, a better question might be: “Hey Ron – how do I become God’s partner?” Great question!

Anyone wishing to enter God’s Kingdom must be regenerated from above (a better rendering of the born again we find in John 3:1-15) through the Living Water Jesus offers and the Holy Spirit the Father gives in return for our devotion. Citizenship in God’s Kingdom begins with receiving the Living Water of Jesus by believing that He truly is the Son of God and then responding with complete dedication of self and resources. This is what ‘Jesus is Lord’ means. Devotion isn’t making God responsible for our choices or actions—it’s an offering to the King of Heaven of all we are and have. We are to put away our selfish nature—die to self (Luke 9:23-24; 1Corinthians 15:31). That requires obedience.

Obedience to what? In quoting the Old Testament (see Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:34-40), Jesus said that we must honor the Father with all we are and have. He continued by demanding that we love others as we love ourselves (see my earlier post on love). If we love Him, we’ll obey those commandments (John 15:12 & 14:15; 1John 3:14). Everything the Old Testament teaches about what God desires, including about how to treat others, could be done just by putting others first and treating them like we wish to be treated as we live as servants and yet partners with the King.

To sum up, so far, applying for citizenship in God’s Kingdom requires belief, complete devotion, and loving action. When we do this and engage in the things of God through study, discipleship, and prayer, we are changed—transformed. The path of citizenship may seem challenging, if not impossible. But we have help! The Spirit in the born-again conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus is the Spirit of God. He teaches and comforts us and is our partner in devotion to the Father and loving others.  He also helps us change from the inside out, from mind to behavior. The Spirit also makes it possible for us to remain—abide— as a citizen of Heaven (see John 15:1-10, for example).

Believe. Devote. Receive the Spirit of God and move where He leads you! Have you already done and are doing that? Then, welcome, citizen of Heaven! Next week, we’ll continue to consider God’s desires as we delve further into Godly Obedience.

Blessings and peace,

Dr. Ron Braley

The Kingdom of God

“Ron – what is God’s Kingdom?” The easy answer is: “Where God rules!” Fair enough, but you might want to know where that is and more about the Kingdom itself. Let’s start with a bit of information about what is the Kingdom of God.

Indeed, the Kingdom of God is where God the Father rules. His Kingdom is where the Bible calls the 3rd heaven.

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven. … was caught up into Paradise … —2 Corinthians 12:2-4.

The first heaven is the space above where birds fly; the second is the cosmos where the constellations hang.

… both humans and beasts, creeping thing and birds of heaven (Genesis 6:7, ESV).

And take heed, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven … (Deuteronomy 4:19, NASB).

The Father rules the third heavenly domain with the Son – the one we English-speaking folks call Jesus, the Christ.

When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God —Hebrews 10:12.

 You might ask, “Doesn’t Jesus reign here on earth – in our hearts?”

Sort of … First, Jesus made clear that He and the Father are ‘preparing a place’ for the faithful. When ready, He will gather them. So, the Kingdom of Heaven isn’t physically here. But, you could say that the Kingdom of Heaven is ‘already within reach although it’s not here yet.’

Second, the Spirit of God given by the Father connects the faithful to His Kingdom and helps them persevere while they wait for Father and Son’s physical reign.

Third, heaven and earth will become one (in a sense) when evil, the world, and death are destroyed, and God makes all things new, returning creation to the perfection it enjoyed at the very beginning of human time. When that happens, the Kingdom of Heaven will be on the new earth and Father and Son will reign and dwell among creation.

To tie everything together, the Kingdom of God (the Kingdom of Heaven) is physically in the ‘third heaven’ but will be on the new earth in the coming age when the Father makes all things new and dwells with His creation. That Kingdom is now within reach for those who acknowledge Him as the King of their lives, entirely devoting all they are and have to Him (see Matthew 22:37). The Spirit He gives in return becomes the connection to the Kingdom until the new age comes.

Blessings and peace, Ron Braley