Monday, May 14, 2012

Kingdom vs Salvation

I have possibly discussed this here before, but Rog raised the question in his comment this morning on the Willy Wonka post (20th April), so I'll address this topic here.

As mentioned in my short reply there, I still have so many unanswered questions about the kingdom.
  •     What is the difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven (if any)?
  •     When is the kingdom in operation - now or the future or both?
  •     Who are its leaders, who are its citizens without leadership roles?
  •     Is it physical or spiritual, or both?
  •     Does national (redeemed) Israel have a special role?
And I could go on.........

Of course Rog is correct about salvation. 
We will all "get there" in the end because God will make sure he gets what he desires.
He has chosen to redeem us all and THE Sovereign of the universe gets whatever he decrees.
(We've discussed this several times, the book is full of it, and 1 Timothy 2 : 4 - 6 sums it up well.)

Now let me share some of my (current) thoughts on the kingdom.........
The kingdom is for those who have been chosen to believe in this age.
They have been given life in the age and are the first to be saved, a kind of first fruits of the total harvest of souls.
(Many loose translations call this life 'eternal life', but the original clearly is talking about 'eonian life' or life in the age or ages.)

The leaders (co-rulers, administrators, managers,  vice-regents) in the kingdom are those who have used their chosen position to prepare themselves for these roles.
They are variously called
    victorious, see Revelation 2 : 10;  2: 26 - 27;  3 : 21
    faithful,  see Matthew 25 : 14 - 30;  Luke 12 : 12 - 27

So I think the Willy Wonka movie is demonstrating how Satan, as an employee of God, provides the trials and tests over which we have the choice to be victorious, to be faithful, or NOT.
Only Charlie valued his everlasting gobstopper and stayed true to Wonka's requirements, regardless of the tests Slugworth provided, and was thus rewarded with the chocolate factory.
Charlie inherited Wonka's Chocolate kingdom.

Similarly, those who have built works that withstand God's fiery inspection will earn the reward of a position as co-ruler with Christ in the kingdom (the reward is NOT salvation) .
See 1 Cor 3 :  10 - 15 for reward conditions of those whose foundation is Christ.
See also Rev 19 : 7 - 8 indicating that it is the bride's efforts that make her ready to share the throne with her bridegroom.

Salvation is a gift for all eventually. 
The order we are chosen to receive it is entirely up to God, as all gifts are given in the timing of the giver.

Kingdom rulership is awarded to those who have already been given the gift of salvation and who have prepared themselves for a leadership role.
Salvation is a gift; 
ruling in the kingdom is a reward.

What do you think?
Would love to hear from you here on the blog.
Blessings, Barry


  1. Hi Barry,
    The way I see it is that not all those who have believed on Christ during their life shall attain to the "First Resurrection"...but only those few who are made worthy through their obedience to the Holy Spirit during their life.
    The rest of the dead are not raised until after the 1000 years, when all who sleep in the dust are raised. This is the 'second resurrection' or the 'General resurrection.'
    Those who are raised at the first resurrection are blessed and holy, they are the "overcomers" spoken of in the early chapters of Revelation.
    Salvation is guaranteed for all...but not the right to share in the First resurrection.
    That is why Paul said in
    Php 3:10 to know him, and the power of his rising again, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death,
    Php 3:11 if anyhow I may attain to the rising again of the dead.
    Php 3:12 Not that I did already obtain, or have been already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by the Christ Jesus;
    Php 3:13 brethren, I do not reckon myself to have laid hold; and one thing--the things behind indeed forgetting, and to the things before stretching forth--
    Php 3:14 to the mark I pursue for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
    If Paul was taking about pursuing a resurrection that is for all believers in this age, then I think a lot of Christians will be disappointed..
    Paul was not sure if he had attained to the rising from the dead yet!! He was certainly saved, and a believer...but he is talking about a walk of obedience to the daily personal commands of the Spirit to him.
    To him who overcomes will I grant to ...etc etc
    The Christian who gets born again, but then does not live a life of obedience to the Spirit(as opposed to obedience to church men)will be raised after the 1000 year reign as Daniel 12 and John 5 says.
    Dr Stephen Jones sums up what I am saying...
    "Obviously, I do not teach Universalism. I teach "Restorationism," and since I coined the word in
    this context, I have the privilege of defining it. It is the belief that all of creation will be restored and
    reconciled to Him, not by putting away the law, but by paying its full penalty. Secondly, while
    Jesus obtained the FACT of salvation for all men, the TIMING of salvation differs and depends
    upon which "squadron" (Greek: tagma) one is in. 1 Cor. 15:22 and 23 say,
    22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.
    23 But each in his own
    order [tagma, “squadron”].
    There is more than one resurrection coming. The first "squadron" will be those who are called to
    rule and reign with Him (Rev. 20:4-6). The second group will be those believers who are raised
    along with all the unbelievers (John 5:28, 29; Luke 12:46) at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-
    13). This second group of believers will miss the first resurrection and will not reign with Christ
    during the thousand years in the Tabernacles Age to come. Nonetheless, they will certainly be “
    saved yet so as through fire ” (1 Cor. 3:15). Jesus made it clear in Luke 12:46-49 that those servants
    of God who mistreated others would receive a “flogging” before being given their reward.
    The third group will be the unbelievers themselves, after their time of judgment has been
    completed, for there will be a Jubilee at the end of time according to the law, wherein all of creation
    will be set free in the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. 8:21)."

  2. Thanks Den for your response.
    You will have seen from my post above that I have opinions about the kingdom that are settled in my mind, but there are still several questions that I have not resolved.

    Of those things settled, I agree with you 100%.
    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful !!
    The experience of finding fellow-journeymen in this area is very rare.

    Thanks again for sharing with us. Please keep in touch.
    Blessings, Barry

    By the way, just at Dr Jones has his own term for the position he holds, I have mine.
    Biblical Universal Reconciliation/Restoration (abbreviated BUR) is what I use in most of my conversations with those who don't hold my view so they are not so easily tempted to label my position as unbiblical, as many are wont to do.


All relevant comments are most welcome. However, please express any disagreement you might have without being disagreeable and with grace towards those who might not hold your point of view.