Dear Brethren at simplechurch,
Greetings from the Philippines.
I am attaching an article here about salvation. I hope that you will take time to open it and read; very important. I put in a lot of scriptures so you will not have to look them up in your Bibles, for smooth and continuous reading. Have a fruitful reading experience . . .
Thanks, your brother in Christ in Manila,
I read through the whole composition. It's length makes it hard to respond to.
As a person with about as much leadership ability as a rock, the idea of having a chunk of God's kingdom to rule or reign over is the farthest thing from my mind. Every job I've had so far here in this life I've been on the bottom of the ladder or pyramid and am just fine with that.
Most of the first half of your paper gave me the impression I was reading 'another gospel'. As far as I can tell, there is only one gospel, one good news. The gospel of the kingdom, of Jesus Christ, of God, of peace, of the grace of God, of His Son, of your salvation is all one in the same. You might not be replacing one gospel with another, but adding a second gospel I would say is just as deceptive as Satan's lie in the garden who used God's own words to deceive Eve.
I worry about your end result motives with this 'second gospel'... this earning a place of power and authority and desire to rule and reign with Christ like your working for a bigger chunk of God's kingdom. There is a materialistic, power hungry tone with this.
You often add '[ ]' to add clarity to things and there is nothing wrong with this if done right. For example where you did right, ". . . I [Paul] have received of the Lord Jesus,.." which clarifies that 'I' was 'Paul' and can be biblically backed by referencing back to verse 16.... BUT to continue, you go on to say ""...to testify the gospel of the grace of God [the gospel that the unsaved must hear]. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God [the gospel of the kingdom which Christians must hear after their salvation], shall see my face no more" (verses 24,25)." This isn't just clarifying. This is making assumptions that cannot be backed by other scripture. You are adding to the bible things that it doesn't say which is very dangerous.
You remind me of the Pharisees who were looking for God's kingdom to come physically.
 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Colossians 1:12-13 (Paul talking to Christians)
 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath [past tense] made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
 Who hath [past tense] delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath [past tense] translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
The kingdom has come and has been here since Jesus rose from the dead and sat in David's thrown on the right hand of God and sent His Spirit to dwell within us.
I don't think you got the point of both the story of the rich man and Nicodemus and let me add the woman at the well. One of the points to all these three stories is that it is impossible to gain salvation and eternal life by our own efforts. I know you say salvation is free but then we must earn a spot in the kingdom.
Remember the rich man was asking what 'HE' could 'DO'(physically) to inherit eternal life. And Jesus answered what he must physically do to inherit eternal life. Remember what Jesus said later, Mark 10:27, "And Jesus looking upon them saith, WITH MEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE, but not with God: for with God all things are possible."
As for Nicodemus, being born of the Spirit is something that man cannot do for himself. That is impossible.
As for the woman at the well, 'living water' is something only Jesus can give. There is no physical living water we can find to drink so salvation by this method is impossible for man.
Because we cannot obtain salvation, adoption by God, inheritance by any physical means, we are left by force to put our hope and trust in Christ alone by the grace of God through faith. This is the heart of the Gospel.
Salvation IS entrance into the kingdom, adoption by God, eternal life and future inheritance of some sort. I think this striving of the disciples about who is greatest in the kingdom was childish. Remember the woman with her two sons wanting them to sit on Jesus right and left hand in His kingdom? Jesus said, "...but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father." Notice that placement in the kingdom is given to them prepared by the Father not who work hard to earn a place.
I'm all for exhorting and encouraging other Christians to live a life worthy of God's calling, but doing so through inciting fear pressures Christians to do the right things for the wrong reasons and motives. Instead of bearing fruit through the leading of the Holy Spirit and out of appreciation for what God has done for them, they work to follow God's commands out of fear of loosing some spot in some future kingdom that may not come in this lifetime.
Thank you very much for replying. Yes, I'm happy to know that at least someone has read my article. I like your letter-reply, brother Ryan, it's like a spear that penetrates to the heart. But I'm sorry I cannot write longer because I was about to go to work when I noticed there was a reply from Simple Church. But I must THANK YOU ! from my heart for your having read the article. I think we are agreed on the substance, only we disagree on some minor misunderstanding, say, the desire for a large chunk of the kingdom, you say. Oh, that "2 gospel" is just a matter of semantics, I suppose.
Ryan you are so right in that the kingdom has come.
John thought he was already in the kingdom. Paul thought the same.
in Isaiah the kingdom is call "in my mountain" to be established in the latter days or last days. (acts 2)
in Daniel the kingdom is a rock that comes and hits the statue and breaks it up and grows into a mountain.
this rock is the cornerstone of the kingdom and Christ is that cornerstone. Christ started His kingdom upon his resurrection and the day of pentacost.
Christ is now reigning as King of that kingdom.
Christ is now reigning as High Priest of that kingdom.
when you become a christian you enter into that kingdom and actualy reign and are a priest. A priest in that we can now go directly to God (through Christ) whereas in the OT we had to go through the priests (levites).
The problem in the first century is that the Jews were wanting a physical king and physical reigning of the Messaih and He would kick all the butts of the gentile nations. then the Jews would be exhalted over the nations.
what they didnt understand is that Christ's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and that Christ would not physically rule from Jerusalem but from His throne in heaven.
this changes your whole perspective on what is the kingdom and what should we be doing on this earth today in advancing His kingdom. What is going to happen in the future? doesnt matter as we are to be stewarts of this life and responsability that Christ has given to us.
There is so much more to go over but hopefully everyone will read up more on all the different views and make their own decissions.
Thank you, Doug, for your reply.
I'd like to make some clarifications. The word "gospel" simply means good news. The Grace of God - His unmeritted pardon - is really good news for an unsaved man. And when that man has been saved, it is also good news for him to hear of the coming Kingdom and that he has the opportunity to be part of. So it's not a matter of "two gospels" or one gospel.
To earn a part in the coming Kingdom is Biblical. The Lord did not chastise the mother of John and James for her aspirations for her sons. It was just that the two highest positions were not for them. Remember the parables of the talent and the pounds? Rewards in the Kingdom are commensurate with the works (profit) made the servants. Faithfulness to the Master is the issue, not selfish grabbing for a "chunk."
To say that the Kingdom is already here is to not understand the Word of the Kingdom (see Matthew 13:19,23). This is the reason why I wrote my 46-page article. Part Three is on the drawing board, which would be titled, "Old Testament References and Allusions to the Millennial Kingdom." References in Isaiah, Daniel and the other prophets to the Kingdom look forward beyond this Christian dispensation. Yes, the Jews may have misunderstood Christ, but that doesn't negate the fact that the Kingdom of the heavens, the one that will be ruled by Him (Matt. 4:17, etc.), is still future. Christ offered to the Jews the Kingdom of the heavens; but they rejected the message and killed the Messenger. Then the Church was brought into existence who became the recipient of that which the Jews spurned and rejected (Matt. 21:43). And sadly, the offer is still being rejected by most Christians.
I could say more, but it is exactly midnight here in Manila. I just hope that the foregoing will help whet the appetite of readers to look more into this topic. Goodnight . . .