Things that will Keep You Out of the Kingdom

Things that will Keep You Out of the Kingdom

As the year 2018 begins, I can’t help but think about the past year that has just gone by. If God were to evaluate me, will I get a passing mark? Or is there a possibility for me or any other believer who has been faithfully serving God to be kept out of the kingdom of heaven? If yes, how and why? What could be the things that will keep you out of the kingdom?

One Scripture that keeps ringing in my head in as far as making it to heaven is concerned is Matthew 7:21 which says, “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.”

I’ve heard this text preached many times over as a means to warn all believers that they could be faithfully serving God today but could be lost in the end. If we are to continue to Matthew 7:22-23, it’s pretty clear that Jesus was speaking to spirit-filled believers.

No one who does not have the Holy Spirit operating in his life will be able prophesy and cast out demons in the name of Jesus. The only way anyone can do wonders and miracles in the name of Jesus is if they are genuine believers and are filled with the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God on Earth vs. the Kingdom of God in Heaven

Before going any further, it’s important we differentiate between the kingdom of God on earth and the kingdom of God in heaven. But is there really a difference or are they actually one and the same?

When a person gets born again, that is, he repents of his sins and decides to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his life, he immediately becomes a part of the kingdom of God on earth (John 3:3). This kingdom of God on earth consists of the believers in Christ who were given the right to become God’s children based on their confession of faith in Christ (John 1:12).

We have to understand that before we came into the saving knowledge of God by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9), we belonged to the kingdom of darkness, blinded by the ruler and God of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). Before we got saved, we belonged to our father, the devil (John 8:44).

The kingdom of God in heaven on the other hand, is the dwelling place of God where we will be spending eternity. But believers will only gain entry into the kingdom of heaven when Jesus comes back at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) to take His bride, the Church, to heaven as He has promised in John 14:2-3.

Things that will keep believers out of the Kingdom of Heaven

So if a genuine believer can be denied entry into the kingdom of God, what are the reasons or the things that will keep them out?

1. Hypocrisy

This is the behavior of people who do exactly the things that they tell other people not to do; or when you preach to others to live a certain way, however, you choose to do the opposite. In other words, you do not practice what you preach, you do not “walk the talk.”

In Matthew 7:3-5, we read Jesus rebuking people who are keen to see and correct other people’s fault without recognizing their own. Jesus is saying that it’s okay to correct other people but before doing that, you first need to right your own wrongs. It’s very clear from the text I quoted that the only way we will see clearly the faults of others is if we recognize our own faults and make them right.

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of hypocrisy but we can avoid this by “living by the book.” Let us be careful to not be like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who were hypocrites. They were trying so hard to live by the law but often forget to practice the weightier matters of the law (Matthew 23:23).

No one who passes judgment to others or tells others what not to do while he himself practices them will escape God’s judgment. When you judge others for the very same things you practice, you are condemning yourself and will be judged by God at the judgment day (Romans 2:1-3).

In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the apostle Paul said that he disciplines his body like an athlete to do what it should do because he fears that after preaching to others he himself might be disqualified. Paul is talking about self-discipline and how believers are supposed to conduct themselves. He likens our journey towards the kingdom of heaven to that of an athlete who needs to be disciplined enough in order to get to the finish line.

This is a challenge to all pastors and preachers who were given the huge responsibility and accountability to stand behind the pulpit to teach and exhort the Word of God. Admittedly, what you preach is often the thing that comes back to bite you if you are not careful. Always make sure that you practice what you preach to avoid falling into the trap of hypocrisy.

2. Unforgiveness

Forgiveness is a very prominent theme in the Bible, yet it’s not uncommon for Christians to have questions about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness does not come easy for most of us because our natural instinct is to recoil in self-protection when hurt.

Although we know very well that unforgiveness is a sin, we still struggle to forgive. Matthew 6:14-15 is very clear in saying that if we do not forgive others their sins, our Father in heaven will not forgive our sins. (See also Mark 11:25-26.) And if we are not forgiven of our sins then we are still separated from God because sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2).

We cannot approach the holy throne of God if there is any hint of unforgiveness in our heart. There is no way to explain this truth away. Let us be very careful then with the sin of unforgiveness because unforgiveness when not properly dealt with can lead to bitterness. The Bible warns us against any form of bitterness, rage and anger (Ephesians 4:31).

I had the privilege to meet sister Susan, a Christian woman whom God used mightily in the ministry as a worship leader, musician, music coordinator and preacher. She came to the Lord when she was forced to leave her daughter behind to work overseas in order to support her, because her husband abandoned them.

After a few years, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness which eventually caused her to leave her daughter for good. But before her last breath, it became apparent that she has not really forgiven her husband for what he did to them. Our senior pastor who was at that time in another country made an overseas call to convince her to release forgiveness, otherwise, all her labor in the Lord will be in vain.

I cannot imagine the pain she has been carrying in her heart all those years and it would be heart-breaking to know that all her effort and faithfulness were wasted just because she couldn’t forgive her husband. She was so dedicated and devoted to the Lord that she wholeheartedly supported God’s work. She was a faithful giver and tither, she even gave a double portion of her tithe and also gave her monthly pledge.

Sister Susan, in between her few last breaths, forgave her husband and as a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness to her, she was given a VIP treatment by the consulate when shipping her body back home to be buried in our homeland.

3. Not repenting

Placing your faith in the finished works of Christ and becoming a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) does not mean you will no longer commit sin. It just means you made a conscious choice to repent of your sins, accept God’s forgiveness and strive to live a life that is pleasing to God by using the Word of God, the Bible, as your guide.

While we are still in the flesh, we are prone to commit sin and violate God’s laws. But when we do sin, the Bible gives us clear instructions to confess our sins to God and He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

There’s just one problem when it comes to this very familiar Bible verse and that is, many Christians seem to abuse it. Just because they know God is always ready to forgive as He has promised, they commit the same sin repeatedly, over and over again. When we get to this point, we are in danger of falling into the sin of unrepentance.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11 talks about being sorry for your sins and that sorrow which is godly will produce repentance leading to salvation. In other words, Paul is saying that someone could be sorry for the sins he has committed and yet his sorrow does not lead to repentance. It doesn’t matter how many times you ask God to forgive your sins if you still keep doing it after receiving His forgiveness.

Committing the same sin after confessing it and receiving God’s forgiveness is proof that you are not really sorry to begin with. Revelation 2:5 gives us a warning about not repenting. This is clearly addressed to the Church, the believers, that if they do not repent, God will come to remove their lamp stand from its place.

Conclusion

As followers of Christ, we are a part of the kingdom of God here on earth but our journey does not end here. Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20). Let us continue to journey towards our final destination, the kingdom of God in heaven.

We may face many trials and difficulties while we are still in the kingdom of God on earth but God is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24), so be confident that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Beware of the things that can keep you out of the kingdom of heaven. Do not get sucked into the sins of hypocrisy, unforgiveness and unrepentance. Instead, keep serving the Lord faithfully, keep fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

22 Replies to “Things that will Keep You Out of the Kingdom”

  1. Hello brothers and sisters in Christ,

    Very Interesting article; it describes everything I’ve gone through, just one thing indulging sin can take years off your life. At a blink of any eye 20 years can pass without you knowing it.

    The reason is you have not repented, you have only asked for forgiveness and apology, and it keeps dragging out. Every time you seek pleasure of the flesh, you become weaker in the spirit and all of a sudden you forget to ask for forgiveness (Apology ) from God, because it becomes an indulging habitual sin and has become a pleasurable reward for yourself.

    God can and will not be around sin unrepentant, this is where you need discipline. It’s like a Junkie kicking their heroin habit. 20 something years later I just hated the way I lived. It affected my home life, work friends etc, so I for the 1st real time repented of my sin.

    To repent is to walk away from it, not ask for Forgiveness (Apology). Repent is to never do that particular sin you have been battling with ever again, and to keep Jesus close to you so tight like glued together.

    Sins wages leads to death there is no little sin, but I say to us all who read this Indulging sin leaders to a legion of sins and demonic influencers, and when you clean your house of 1 demonic spirit he brings back 7 more much more worse, and that is God’s word and that’s only a glimpse of what I went through.

    Thank you for reading my post.

    God bless you all, I love you all; fight and finish the race.

    1. Hello Justin, thank you for sharing your story.

      God really does hate sin; good news is, He loves the sinner and wants them to repent and be reconciled with Him.

      I am sure many of us can relate with what you have been through. We may claim to be born again believers but fail to truly repent of our sins. Whether we admit it or not, many of us take sin lightly.

      We think that because God is love, merciful and compassionate, we can choose to deliberately disobey Him or do things which we know very well are against His will, and then later on just say we’re sorry and that’s it.

      But we cannot fool God. He sees right through us. He sees our hearts and examines our motives so He knows if we are truly repentant or not.

      You’re absolutely right, Justin. True repentance means turning away from sin and turning to Christ. If we say we repent of a particular sin, we must by all means stop repeating the same sin in our lives.

      No excuses! If we keep repeating the same sin over and over again, then we’re not really sorry at all. For true repentance results in a change in action – a changed heart, a changed life.

      Thank you again, Justin.

      God bless you!

        1. Hi Liam,

          Thanks for dropping by. I just wished you’ve said something more than “oof,” because I’m not sure what to make out of your comment.

          Please do come back and elaborate. Do you disagree with what I said? Do you have something else in mind?

  2. Some people say our sins are forgiven the very day we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that our sins no longer count, that everyone that confess Jesus and goes to church must enter heaven. that hell fire is for those that have not received Jesus. What do you say to that?

    1. Hi Solomon,

      Yes. The moment we acknowledge we are sinners, ask forgiveness from God and confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life, we are forgiven of our sins and gain access to the kingdom of God. This is very clear in Jesus’ own words that unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3).

      It is also clear from Scriptures such as Ephesians 2:8-9 that salvation is not earned through good works; it is based on the finished works of Christ.

      Question: Does God’s forgiveness (as a result of His death) cover all our sins including past, present and future? To be quite honest, this is one topic where many Christians disagree.

      Some claim that all our sins have already been forgiven and atoned for by what Jesus accomplished on the cross, past, present and future. Some say that only our past sins are forgiven and that is why we need to repent every time we commit sin.

      I’d say that Christ does not forgive partially, when He forgives, He forgives all.

      What then am I talking about in this article? It’s all about doing a self-evaluation of our personal relationship with God. Have we really trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life? Is our faith in God genuine? If so, it must be evident in the way we live.

      Although being born again does not make us perfect because we are still in the flesh and that we still commit sins and need forgiveness (1 John 1:9), we cannot claim to be followers of Christ while at the same time continue living in sin.

      A person who is truly saved and bound for heaven to be with the Lord forever is able to overcome the sins of hypocrisy and unforgiveness.

      Thanks for your comment, Solomon.

      God bless!

    1. Hello Victor, thank you for taking time to read the article. It’s a blessing for me knowing that others are blessed and encouraged through this website. God bless you more!

  3. What does this say to the person who truly repents, wants to stop what ever sin they commit but struggle with through addiction? Sexual addiction, drunkenness, etc.

    1. Hello David and thanks for stopping by.

      So what about those who have truly repented of their sins but are still struggling or battling with addiction? First of all, we need to realize that addictions such as those you mentioned are the “works of the flesh” (see Galatians 5:19-21). Man by nature is sinful and corrupt but when a person gets regenerated (or born again), he becomes a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, this does not mean that he will automatically become “holy” or incapable of committing sin.

      The Holy Spirit will start to indwell a person who gets regenerated and so the battle begins between the flesh and the Spirit. As the apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15-20, he desires to do what is good but couldn’t carry it out. Why? Because of the sin that’s living in him. We are by nature sinful. We know that we ought to do what is good but what we do is always in conflict with the Spirit.

      How then are we going to stop sinning and do what is good according to God’s Law? We need to walk by the Spirit and allow Him to lead us (Galatians 5:16-18). We walk by the Spirit so that we will not give in to the lust of the flesh. But while the Holy spirit will give us self control, we also need self discipline. We can pray all we want and ask God to help us with our struggles but if we do not discipline ourselves and set boundaries, we bound to fail.

      If we are struggling with sexual addiction or pornography, we must distance ourselves from anything that could cause us to give in to that sin such as the internet. If we are battling with drunkenness, we should stay away from parties or friends who love to drink. Like I said, it’s all a matter of self discipline and setting boundaries.

      Yes, there will always be temptations everywhere but God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. And when we are tempted, He will provide a way of escape so that we maybe able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). God’s grace is sufficient, praise His holy name.

      God bless you!

  4. Thank God first, and I think this is so. By now anyone on either side will know where he or she will be heading to.

    1. Hi Stephen, thanks for stopping by.

      For those who know the Word of God, they know where they will be spending eternity. The Bible makes it pretty clear that everyone has been born spiritually dead and therefore needs to be regenerated through the work of the Holy Spirit.

      And while good works do not contribute to our salvation because it is a gift that we receive by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9), it is important that we understand how deliberately sinning after having been redeemed speaks volume of what our status in the Lord is really like.

      In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus is saying that even the people who have performed many miracles in His Name may not make it to heaven. I mean, that’s huge and scary! Jesus assured us of eternal life if we have truly repented of our sins and received Him as Lord and Savior of our life. But unconfessed sins, unforgiveness and hypocrisy may keep us out of the God’s kingdom.

      We must be careful with the way we live our lives because nothing impure can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27).

      Blessings to you!

  5. Hi Alice,
    I agree with everything you said in this article. I know there are people who commit sins but think that God forgives them for it if they go to church every Sunday. You are right that God only truly forgives them if they stop committing the sins. Do you have to go to church every Sunday even if you are following God’s rules?

    1. Shalom Roger,

      We were all born sinners because of the sin nature we inherited from Adam and Eve which can keep us out of heaven in the end. The Bible says it clearly that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and separation from God is the simplest definition of hell.

      That is why we need to get right with God by repenting of our sins and asking God’s forgiveness. Now, what is the condition for God to forgive our sins? Is it going to church every Sunday? No! The condition for God to forgive our sins is first acknowledging we’ve sinned and truly repenting. True repentance means we stop committing that particular sin we have just confessed. Repentance means making a 180 degree turn from sin and towards God.

      Obeying God’s commandments and living a life that is pleasing to Him are the trademarks of a person who has placed his faith in Christ. And although it’s true that going to church every Sunday does not have any bearing on your salvation, we are exhorted as members of the body of Christ to give at least one day to the Lord and to not forsake fellowshiping together (Hebrews 10:25).

      We need to fellowship not just with God in the privacy of our homes but also to fellowship with other believers in order to be edified, equipped and grow in our spiritual walk with the Lord.

      Blessings!

  6. I was raised my whole life in the Church. My family took me two and sometimes three times a week. I definitely agree with everything you have said here.
    One of the things I have struggled with is unforgiveness as it relates to incidents surrounding my divorce. Your wonderful article has taught me the importance of forgiving.
    Thanks for sharing it today. I was meant to read this.

    1. Hey Nate,

      I completely understand where you’re coming from. It may sound easy and simple to say we must forgive because God commands us to forgive, but we know deep inside that we have not actually forgiven. I believe we are to immediately release forgiveness but the process of healing is a process which we have to go through one step at a time. What matters is we are willing to forgive.

      God bless!

  7. Dear Alice,

    Thank you very much for your article. You give insights into the Kingdom of God. As we start the new year, God brings us new help, new hope, and new spirits. Kingdom of Heaven is open to all of us.

    In the new year, we are going to practice what we preach and we do “walk the talk”; we learn not only to forgive but also to forget; and we make a choice to repent of our sins. The journey of 2018 is the Kingdom of God on earth, but it is just the beginning, the ultimate goal for us is the journey to the Kingdom of God in Heaven.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hello Anthony,

      Praise God for giving us a brand new start, another year filled with hope of blessings and prosperity.

      Yes, getting into the kingdom of God on earth is just the beginning because the climax of our journey is the kingdom of God in heaven. Let us then be aware of the things that may hinder us from getting to where we should be.

      Learning to forgive others, getting rid of hypocrisy and repenting of our sins are very important for those who claim to be followers of Christ. And let me just add idolatry being also one of the greatest sins one could commit. God hates the sin of idolatry so much so that the Israelites who were on their journey to the Promise Land were denied entry because of this sin.

      Thanks for stopping by, God bless!

  8. This post was so interesting! I really enjoyed the way you explained each Bible quote. I try to read the Bible every day if I can. I have always been a very forgiving and repentant person. I often think of the other guy before myself. The one I struggle with is the hypocrisy. But as I get older, I see that one must really ‘walk the talk’ and live a life devoted entirely to God without exception. Thank you for this inspiring read.

    1. Hey  Lauren, thanks for dropping by.

      Daily Bible reading is an essential part in the life of a believer. We need to feed not only the physical aspect of our life but also the spiritual as well.

      As followers of Christ, we are bound to practice the act of forgiving and true repentance. I know it can be hard to forgive at times because it’s but natural for us to get hurt and offended, but I think the act of forgiving comes easier when we always remember how much we have been forgiven from. 

      Hypocrisy is also something that we as believers should try to get rid off and I agree with you, as we grow and mature in the Lord, we will learn to ‘walk the talk’ and not just ‘talk the talk.’

      Shalom and have a blessed day!

  9. Hi Alice, you have a nice article on Christianity. Everything that you wrote is true, I cannot agree less. While on earth, we try to observe the rules of GOD, that is if we want to remain under HIS care. But as to who actually goes to heaven, I believe that only GOD is the judge to that. We cannot judge what is in another person’s heart or mind. Only GOD can read our inner being. As for myself, I let my conscience be my guide.

    1. Hi Rebecca, 

      You’re absolutely right,it’s never our job to decide or determine who goes to heaven and who does not. But as believers, we are exhorted to live a life that is pleasing to God and pleasing God means obeying His commands and submitting to His will.

      But we also have to remember that God is love and being such, He gives us the freedom to love Him back. He never forces us to do anything against our will. This includes going to heaven; God will never force anyone into His presence, it’s a choice that each of us has to make. The same thing with going to hell; God will never send anyone to hell, going to hell is a choice.

      The main passage I used as my reference in this article is Matthew 7:21-23 which clearly states how a believer can actually get lost along the way and miss heaven because of some things he does of his own free will. At the end of the day, each of us gets to choose where we want to be, and at the end of the day, God is a righteous Judge. 

      Shalom and God bless!

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