Who may enter?
In a day and age of relative truth, tolerance as love, and unity at all costs, this exclusivity is offensive.
We have not entered into this kingdom through an intellectualism that says we figured it out and you didn’t.
Nor through a greater sense of morality, saying, “Thank goodness we are not like those other people.”
This is not a kingdom for the proud or the aloof, nor for those who would ascribe to the motto, “You get what you deserve.”
Those who gain entrance into the Kingdom of God do so not because of our vast intellectualism, greater morality, or because it’s what we deserve. No, none of these are true for any of us.
Rather, we are saved by grace alone, for we know that in us, that is our flesh, “dwelleth no good thing,” and that in our flesh, we “cannot please God.” Romans 7:18, 8:8
Nothing good and unable to please God - this is our natural state, our “flesh,” as Paul describes it in Romans, even going so far as to call us, “by nature the children of wrath.” Ephesians 2:3
Perhaps nothing could more definitively describe our condition as a word which we all inherently know and cringe at, death:
Dead in trespasses and sin. Ephesians 2:1
Dead in sin. Ephesians 2:5
Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men. Romans 5:12
through the offence of one many be dead. Romans 5:15
Death is definitive and it applies to us all. The question then is not, are we dead? Instead, it is which death describes us: dead in sin or dead to sin?
“There are two kinds of people in the world—only two kinds. Not black or white, rich or poor, but those either dead in sin or dead to sin.” -Leonard Ravenhill
When we begin to understand man’s true condition apart from Christ, dead in sin, we can finally sympathize with the astonishment of the disciples when they asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” His answer, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 9:26-27
Living in this state of death, how then can a person be saved and be made able to enter into the kingdom of heaven? One way and one way alone - God, and more specifically, the grace of God to quicken your dead heart.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians 2:1
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Ephesians 2:4-5
“even God, who quickeneth the dead.” Romans 4:17
What has our intellectualism, morality and innate goodness (of which there is none) done for us in this salvation then? How has it contributed to our righteousness? It has earned us nothing, absolutely nothing.
Instead, He (God), showed His favor on us who were dead, quickening us to be able to believe unto righteousness:
It [righteousness] shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Romans 4:24
Since we cannot contribute, being dead in sin, we enter into the kingdom of God through invitation only, which makes the way of Jesus definitively exclusive, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6
The way…No one comes except through Me.
In a day and age of relative truth, tolerance as love, and unity at all costs, this exclusivity is offensive. Paul tells us that to those who are perishing, the fragrance of Christ is, “the aroma of death leading to death.” 2 Corinthians 3:15-16
The stench of death is repulsive, offensive, cringe-worthy. It is not pleasant, nor something we would subject ourselves to willingly. Such is the exclusivity of the Gospel to those who are dead in sin.
There is a right way, a single path, an absolute truth.
How can He demand such exclusivity? Because this is His exclusive right and His reward as the One, “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” Romans 4:25
He is the only One worthy
“Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?
And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy.” Revelation 5:2-4
What must we do to be saved, to be made able to enter into this kingdom of heaven?
Who can deliver us from this body of death?
Who is worthy?
Do these questions cause you to weep much? Have you seen the true helplessness of your condition? If so, then do not weep, but look to Christ!
“But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll.
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne…stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” Revelation 5:5-7
Behold Him today, the only One worthy. Believe on Him and you will be saved, for with God all things are possible.