Continuing our series on The Kingdom, Power and Glory, we learned last month that as a result of the Judgment Seat of Christ, there will be two kinds of inheritance. One is an inheritance that belongs to us simply because we are “sons” (it’s called a sonship inheritance). This is a free gift that all true Christians enjoy and one that will allow us to freely enter the kingdom.
The second type of inheritance refers to a meritorious reward that only overcoming Christians will receive for their obedience, faithfulness and endurance. This reward will allow us to inherit the kingdom (i.e., have an inheritance “from the Lord”). These are the ones who not only will be subjects in the coming kingdom, they will also be sovereigns (and co-rulers with Christ).
Revelation 21:7 says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.”
So, from now on, when we refer to Christians who will “inherit, possess or rule over the kingdom,” we will be referring to those believers who are not only positionally sanctified, but who are also in practice partakers of Christ’s Life and, thus, overcomers bearing fruit.
When we refer to those who only “enter the kingdom,” we will be referring to those who have not been obedient or faithful in their walk with the Lord in this lifetime. They are justified, but not experientially sanctified. They are nominal Christians, lukewarm Christians, back-sliding Christians (believers who once had “fruit” in their lives but who have decided not to make the choices needed to stay in God’s will). Because they have quenched God’s Spirit in their hearts, they are not overcomers, but in fact, have been “overtaken” by the world, the flesh and the devil.
This is what that might look like...
“Quenching the Spirit”
This believer still has a new spirit and a new heart filled with God’s eternal Life, (the gold dot) but because he has made “emotional choices” to follow his “own” desires rather than God’s, God’s Life in his heart has been quenched and blocked, and thus, “self life” (his own thoughts, emotions and desires) is showing. (1 Thess 5:19)
So, rather than a beam of light coming forth (God’s Life), notice the black shadow (of self) that blocks that light.
If this believer continues not to recognize that he has quenched God’s Spirit and he never chooses to turn around (and repent), he will ultimately end up fruitless and this will deem him unfit, unprepared and unqualified to inherit the kingdom.
“Filled with the Spirit”
On the other hand, take a look at Chart 8 and see what happens when a believer makes “faith choices” to continually turn around and follow God. These are the ones who have denied themselves (the flesh) and have chosen to let Christ’s Life come forth (that beam of light). These are the partakers of Christ’s Life and the overcomers who produce fruit.
Again, these overcomers are not “perfect.” The beam of light does not always flow. It comes and goes, depending upon their choices. But, these “overcomers” have learned how to recognize when they quench the Spirit and how to let Christ, who is the perfect One, live His Life out through them
These, then, are the ones who will inherit, possess and rule in the coming kingdom with the King of Glory.
What are the Requirements for Inheriting?
One of the most common questions asked is “what do we have to do in order to be worthy of inheriting from the Lord?” Specifically, what does Matthew 10:38 really mean when it says: “He who taketh not his Cross and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.”
What does the word “worthy” really mean?
Again, there are two Greek words for the word “worthy” (and they are very important for us to understand):
1) The first one is the Greek word kataxioo (Strong’s #2661) which means to be counted worthy; to be deemed entirely deserving. We are “counted worthy” only because of what Christ has already done for us on the Cross: He has re-deemed us; He has imputed His righteousness and He has given us His holiness. In other words, He is the One who is really “worthy.” We are only “counted worthy” because of what He has already done. Luke 21:36 validates this: “Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy (kataxioo) to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”1So, according to this, all true believers in Jesus Christ (faithful or not) are accounted worthy to escape the things to come and to stand before the Lord! In other words, to be a part of the coming kingdom.
2) The second definition of the word “worthy,” however (and the one we are really interested in), is the Greek word axios (Strong’s #514) which means to be “worthy of” on the grounds of being fit, meet or prepared. In Revelation 3:4 where Christ is talking about the church of Sardis, He says: “I have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.”
This is the kind of “worthy” that we are talking about in relation to inheriting the kingdom. It means being fit, prepared and qualified to rule and reign with Christ and hold levels of responsibility.2
Requirements for Inheriting
What are some of the qualifications that will make us “worthy of” inheriting the kingdom? Here’s a list of some of the spe-cific things the Bible says we need to attend to in order to be “worthy of” (fit, prepared and qualified) to inherit the kingdom.3
1) We need to learn how to be experientially sanctified or con-formed into Christ’s image. (Romans 8:29) How to give Christ the complete rights to our lives on a daily basis. How to submit to His absolute Lordship. How to be set apart for Him. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) How to be clean and open vessels. (Ephesians 5:1-5)
2) And when we do sin or when “self” does raise its ugly head, we must learn how to go to the Cross, repent and deal with those things. Unless the Cross is a constant part of our life, we will not experience Christ’s overcoming Life. John 12:24-25 tells us that “Life only comes from death” (death of our “self-life”).
3) Next, we must learn how to be a partaker, a participant and a sharer of Christ’s Life. (Hebrews 3:14; 12:10) Not just a receiver of His Life, but actually living and experiencing His Life. How to love others with His Love. (2 Peter 1:3-4) How to produce the “fruit of the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
4) And finally, we need to learn how to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil by being obedient and faithful and persevering to the end. (Revelation 21:7)4
Now as you look at this list, if you are thinking to yourself: ‘‘There’s no way in the entire world that I can do all those things. It’s totally impossible!”
I want you to remember the prisoner friend I spoke of in this series’ first article. If he, being locked up for life, can learn to be sanctified, a partaker of Christ’s Life and an overcomer producing “fruit,” then any of us can.
The first place to start is simply to recognize your choices. Recognize when you blow it and quench God’s Spirit. Then, learn how to make faith choices to turn around (repent) and go God’s way. Christ then will do the rest. He’s the One who will sanctify us; He’s the One who will make us partakers of His Life; and He’s the One who will help us persevere unto the end. In other words, He’s the Overcomer, not us. All He wants from us is our “willingness” to let Him do these things through us. That’s His will; but it’s going to be our constant choice whether or not we let Him perform that will through us.
The sobering part of all of this is that our “eternal destiny” depends upon these daily, moment-by-moment choices. The life we are living now is just the testing ground or proving ground. The Kingdom Reign is the “prize”!5
Entering the Kingdom of God simply means being born again and having faith in Christ’s completed work; whereas merit, obedience and fruitfulness are required in order to inherit that prize. (John 3:3-70)
This kingdom perspective will not only have a profound effect on our daily lives here and now, it will also be the basis for encouragement in the difficult times that lie ahead. Remember Proverbs 13:12, “...hope deferred makes the heart sick,” but when that hope (our inheritance in Christ) is realized (apprehended, taken a hold of), it will become a “tree of Life.”
It certainly has in our own lives and we pray it will in yours also. Our eternal destiny depends upon it.
To be continued next month: “Who Are the Overcomers?” This article has been excerpted from Chuck and Nan’s new book, The Kingdom, Power and Glory.