Also see: Entrance Granted Into the Eternal
Ever wonder what it will be like to arrive at The Entrance into the Eternal, to actually be standing in front of the very entrance? How spectacular that will be! I’m not talking about a near death experience and seeing lights-and-all while laying comatose. That is not biblical. I’m talkin’ bout dying, and …then what?
I am counting on what Scripture says about death and dying. How about you?
Or do you give credence to extra-biblical accounts of “near death” and try to glean truth from them? I think not.
Why would I put faith in what someone says while on a gurney, on medications, near death and subject to dreams and hallucinations? Not me. I put my faith in the inspired Word of God. Plus, a lot of them contradict the Bible!
The Bible is the Word of God. THAT is something from which I can glean truths.
The Apostle Peter wrote:
11 …the entrance into the eternal
kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
will be abundantly supplied to you.”
– 2 Peter 1: verses 3-11
First thing we learn here is that the entrance is only for “those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1: verse 1). You must be born again, Jesus said. Are you?
Apparently, the way people are received upon entering – will vary from person to person.
Of course, all who are born again will joyfully enter with gratefulness, and will be received with great joyfulness and praising of God for His unrelenting mercy and grace towards us who believed in Jesus. But it behooves us to be diligent in our faith, working at it, so we are “neither useless nor unfruitful” (2 Peter 1: verse 8).
There are other indications of how we will be received in heaven: 1 Corinthians 3: verses 8-15
8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own [b – wages] reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s [c – cultivated land] field, God’s building.
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test [e]the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Maturing Throughout Life
In 2 Peter 1: verses 3-11, Peter describes a process of maturing in Christ, where we naturally cross-over from phase to phase in life — to deeper and deeper maturity in Christ, becoming more and more like Christ in our “person”, as we learn and then actually apply truth into our daily experience.
Think, for example, of how a child learns. He puts his hand near a fire, and learns it is hot. So he withdraws his hand. Later he warms himself near the fireside, and learns he can get too hot. So he moves further away. His parents comment to him, in a teachable moment, how an arsonist started a forest fire nearby. Then, when a friend shows him how to light a fire in the woods – he says no, because fire is dangerous. Step by step he learned, through experience and teachings, and applied it to his thinking and responses to his daily experiences.
As we learn more about our faith in Christ, about “His precious and magnificent promises”, we “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1: verse 4). We mature as we learn these promises — and then have the option to actually apply them to our life. It does absolutely no good, from an eternal perspective, to learn and learn and learn – and never actually apply and change. What good is that!? Not very much.
Sitting and listening, and sitting, and listening some more… is not a very productive way of learning for application and change. Don’t put up with head cramming sessions at your church. Make things happen, change, so that personal life application is happening – to further maturity, not merely further head knowledge.
Bible study should not be merely a time for mental cramming. The church should aim for personal application. There is a time and a place to cram for knowledge, such as in bible institutes, colleges, universities, and seminaries, but too often churches and small groups teach to cram knowledge, instead of for personal spiritual growth and maturity in Christ.
It is through God’s “own glory and excellence” that we have promises of God, “precious and magnificent promises“, through which we can “become partakers of the divine nature” and escape “the corruption that is in the world by lust“. “Through the true knowledge of Him” – we have “everything pertaining to life and godliness”. (2 Peter 1: verses 1-11)
Learn God’s promises in the Bible, so you can apply them to your life. Claim them. The timeline goes like this:
True knowledge of Christ
gives us everything we need in this life to live righteously
– 2 Peter 1: verses 1-11
A. God‘s glory and holiness (virtue)
B. provides promises
C. which we claim and put into practice
1. “become partakers”: become spiritually minded in our daily living
2. “escape… corruption”: act righteously instead of sinfully
When we become born again – we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, through whom we are then empowered to be able to escape corruption and “become partakers of the divine nature“, thus becoming more and more like Christ — day by day by day. It does not happen overnight while you sleep. It is a lifelong process that we live through. As Peter says, we are to apply “all diligence”. Work at it!
Working at spiritual perfection
For some of us — it is a long, slow, very slow process. You’ve heard of slow learners… well, I think we are all slow learners, spiritually. But as we apply diligence to be more like Christ, we will look back and see that we have slowly been maturing – we have more and more of the qualities of a divine nature: diligence, faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
2 Peter 1: verses 5-7
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence,
in your faith supply moral excellence, and
in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and
in your knowledge, self-control, and
in your self-control, perseverance, and
in your perseverance, godliness, 7
and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and
in your brotherly kindness, love.
We are to be careful to always work at adding more and more of Christ to our inner man. Add more and more spiritual behavior and attitude to our daily walk. Don’t get stuck in a rut! Don’t get fat and sassy! Don’t get satisfied with where you are at. Always press on:
verses 14-15 (AMP version)
I press on
toward the goal
to win the [heavenly] prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature
[pursuing spiritual perfection]
should have this attitude.
How are you acting-out your role on this stage called life? The Entrance to the Eternal is just around the corner! How do you want to walk through The Gate?
It’s not an easy path we walk. We wrestle with spiritual forces of darkness, against the world, the flesh and the Devil.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world.
James 4:7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you.
Don’t allow your daily walk to be filled with corruption: the corruption of the world, the flesh and the Devil. On the contrary — always work at developing your inner soul in the faith. Add more and more of these “divine nature” qualities. Don’t get discouraged. Work at it!
Romans 8:31 Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 What then shall we say
to all these things?
If God is for us,
who can be [successful] against us?
I can do all things
[which He has called me to do]
through Him who strengthens and empowers me
[to fulfill His purpose—
I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency;
I am ready for anything and equal to anything
through Him who infuses me
with inner strength and confident peace.]
As followers of Christ, we want to arrive at The Entrance Into The Eternal, the entrance of His Kingdom… with as much of a divine nature as possible, so that we will be pleasing to Him when we enter. It’s not to earn our salvation – but rather: out of love, to please Him.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
It’s not just about our works. What counts more is: who we actually are, who we are becoming. Do you have many qualities of the divine nature abounding in you – and increasing?