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What the NEW TESTAMENT Teaches about Salvation and the Kingdom of God

Jesus and his apostles taught that the kingdom of God (Christ) is right now, right here, in the hearts of all who are doing his will. It is a SPIRITUAL kingdom, `not of this world,` as Jesus said. The epistles also tell us that when Christ returns (on the `last day`--the `day` of resurrection and judgment--he will bring us our final salvation (Hebrews 9:28, etc.), and time crashes into eternity. There is then no more time, nor opportunity to be saved, as scripture here states. Christ will not rule on earth (which then will have been dissolved, along with all the material universe we see around us in this material existence) but rather at his coming delivers up his kingdom to the Father and we dwell in the eternal dimension of true reality with Christ forevermore (1 Corinthians 15:24). We are reigning NOW with Christ over sin and Satan in his kingdom.

Jesus himself said (read Matthew 13 carefully) that BOTH THE WICKED AND THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL DWELL TOGETHER UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD, and at his coming it is the wicked whom the angels will remove from among the righteous who will then shine forever in God`s heavenly kingdom. There is great tribulation and persecution going on right now, and we are now in the spiritual battle of `Armageddon` which is raging all about us in this world as the antichrist Satan and his demons rage against our Lord. The `Rapture` doctrine is completely false (it `leaves the Bible behind`) and unscriptural, as is the doctrine of a subsequent earthly `millennial` reign of Christ out of Jerusalem. It is God`s church of all the truly redeemed who make up the true and only CHOSEN people of Zion, the spiritual Israel which is faithful to God`s new and better covenant. No one is God`s chosen who does not answer his call to repentance and continuing, obedient faith in Jesus Christ. (`The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.` Galatians 3:16)

The kingdom of God was announced by Jesus and ushered in by his atonement and resurrection, coming in power with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and in his kingdom we now reign victoriously over sin and Satan, awaiting the final salvation Christ brings for those who obey his Spirit now in his kingdom, which Spirit we have as a guarantee, that Spirit being the only Vicar of Christ (rather than the popes, as falsely claimed).

Listen! This is the hour to receive God's favor; today is the day to be saved! (2 Corinthians 6:2)

There is no true belief without resultant obedience, as you see in verse 36 above. As James wrote, our faith is evidenced by our obedience. It is not a matter of just saying `I believe` and setting foot on the Way and claiming that one has already been assured of arrival at the heavenly destination, no matter what is done thereafter. We must FOLLOW HIM (Christ) WHO IS THE WAY all the way to the end to receive final salvation which the epistles tell us Christ brings us at his coming. When it comes to `grace,` Titus 2:11-14 shows us that this grace teaches us how we must then live.

See also Hebrews 5:9... `Christ became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him` and Philippians 2:19... `Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.`

This is what Jesus means when he commands us to REMAIN ABIDING in him (first verses of John 15). He would not have commanded us to do so if it were not something we must choose continually to do; it would have been a useless statement to make if our abiding in him were something automatic. Rather, we are told in Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus Christ is become the author of eternal salvation for all those WHO OBEY HIM. And in Philippians 2:19, Paul emphasizes that we must continue OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST, `working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.`

The truths of the gospel were revealed by the words of Christ and his apostles, in the gospels and epistles. Some truths may have become obscured and buried in the confusion of apostasy, then rediscovered by the reformers such as Luther and Wesley. But the pure gospel always has its roots in the epistles and gospels. We can find the pure truth there, simply presented; it is not hidden nor either cryptic. But we need to read it under the Spirit`s leading and guidance--not through a prism of denominational overlay.

God calls all mankind to repentance and continuing, obedient faith in his Son. All those--and ONLY those--who answer this call are become His Chosen.

We are saved by God`s grace through faith. God`s grace teaches us how we then must live (see Titus 2:11-14).

Let`s try logical thinking from a biblical basis. In the first verses of John 15, Jesus says that he is the vine, we are the branches. He clearly states that we can bear no fruit unless we remain in him. He commands us to remain in him (so, we must have a choice or he would not be stressing the command, which would not at all be necessary if abiding in him were automatic resulting from our initial salvation). He says that, if we do not bear fruit (that is, if we do not abide in him, keeping his words) it is the FATHER himself who `CUTS OFF every branch (already) IN ME,` which branches are then fit only for being burned up in the fire.

It is obvious to honest souls who know scripture that we ourselves have a continual part in keeping our conditional salvation--that is, we have to remain abiding in Christ, keeping his words, for us to receive the final salvation which Jesus will bring to his faithful saints at his coming. You cannot just set foot on the Way and say that you are already sure of having reached the desired destination; you must FOLLOW the Way to the end, hand in hand with Jesus. One person told me the absurd statement that he, being saved, could go out and murder someone and still go to heaven. No wonder that porn addiction and divorce are so prevalent among certain `church members` who think they are going to heaven.

We must heed the clear warning of Jesus: `Not every one who says to me LORD, LORD, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who DO what my Father in heaven wants them to do.`

We now have salvation which is our initial, conditional salvation. It is full salvation, in that it delivers us from sin, not just from sin`s consequences.
Our final salvation (that `blessed hope` referenced in the epistles) is brought us at the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until then, we must continue to REMAIN IN CHRIST. This is what is taught in the words of Christ and his apostles. We should know them well! Think of this analogy: one is `saved` from drowning in tumultuous seas by being brought into a lifeboat. Now, he must REMAIN in that lifeboat. If one is so foolish as to stand up inside that lifeboat or even more foolishly yet, jump back into the raging sea, he is no longer `saved` if he has carelessly or deliberately allowed himself to be back in the same condition as he was before rescue. In fact, Peter says that such a one is worse off than if he had never tasted salvation.

3All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation [that `blessed hope`], and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him WILL BE THE SALVATION of your souls.

13So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”
(1 Peter 1)

9But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

20And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
(2 Peter 1 & 2)

As Hebrews 5:9 says, Jesus Christ is become the Author of eternal salvation `for all those who OBEY him.` That salvation is brought us at his return when all shall be judged by him. And so, Paul tells his beloved congregation (the result of his sufferings and labors where he and Silas had been beaten and imprisoned before the midnight earthquake) that just as they had always obeyed in his presence, so much more was it important to obey (Christ`s teachings) in his absence, each working out his own salvation with fear and trembling in obedience to Christ his Savior. (Philippians 2:9)

And so we read in Hebrews 9:27-28...
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is NEARER NOW than when we first believed.
(Romans 13:11)
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