Jesus taught so many things about the kingdom of Heaven. It is so amazing to know the kind of people that enter the kingdom of Heaven. Kingdom of heaven is different from the kingdom of God. Kingdom of God is right within us. The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Kingdom of God is right inside of every believer.
But Heaven is the throne room of God. Heaven is the dwelling place of God. The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). Heaven is the home of the righteous. Paul says, ‘Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands’ (2 Cor 5:1)
Jesus also spoke about seeing the kingdom of God. Seeing is different from entering the Kingdom of God. You can see a house from outside but to enter a house is totally different experience.
This is similar to the instance we see in the lives of the Israelites. When the Lord led the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of Canaan, there were thousands of people who started the journey. But we see in the scriptures that Moses saw the land of Canaan but could not enter the Canaan land. But we see that Joshua entered the Canaan Land. Same is true with us too.
Dearly beloved, the Heavenly Kingdom is called the Heavenly Canaan. There are very few that enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught us some conditions to enter the Kingdom of Heaven:
1. Become Like Children:
Jesus wanted his disciples to become like little children. Jesus wants us to be humble like little children. When the disciples wanted to know who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus clarified the point saying, one should be devoid of all pride, arrogance and self-exaltation.
The Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18:2, 3)
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). The poor in the spirit are the ones who recognize their dependence on God. They are the ones who seek God’s grace and not self-dependent.
Is there humility in your heart? Humility is an attitude. Do you give credit to God for all that you are and all that you have? Heaven will be a place where there are humble people.
2. Righteousness should exceed the scribes and Pharisees:
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). The scribes and the Pharisees did not submit to the righteousness of God but sought to establish their own righteousness. These religious leaders followed the Bible as a religion. They did not have a relationship with God.
The Lord Jesus cautions us that our righteousness should depend on the righteousness of God. Our relationship should grow each day. We should obey the Word of God our of love for our Savior and not out of compeltion. We should never make the relationship we have with Christ, a religion.
How is your relationship with the Lord Jesus? Your church attendance will not get you to heaven. When we are in right standing with God, then you can be sure of getting to heaven.
3. Doing the will of the Father in heaven:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt 7: 21)
There are many who are so eloquent in their prayer. Jesus says not everyone who prays enters the Kingdom of heaven. I have seen well meaning Christians, when it comes to the actions, they bring in their tradition and their own interests into the picture. But God says, you should not only seek the will of God but also do it no matter what. Only the people who have “done” the will of God will enter the kingdom of God.
May the Lord help us grow in the relationship we have in Him. Amen.