Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   Failing To Enter In
   by Rayola Kelley

       Last month we considered how redemption gives people opportunity to be restored to their original inheritance. For God’s people, that restoration has to do with possessing His promises. Such a concept can cause confusion for the people of God. They perceive that promises are simply given to them. It is true that God freely offers His promises by providing the opportunity to possess them, the way to acquire them, and the means of obtaining them, but it is also clear that they must be possessed through patience if they are going to be personally experienced (Hebrews 6:12).

       Clearly, God wants to bless His people, but He must bring them to a place where they can properly receive His blessings. Blessings are meant to be used as God’s means to distribute His promises in such a manner that they would be beneficial to His people as a whole.

       As we follow the ways of God, it is clear to see that He must prepare His people to embrace by faith what He has promised. This can be seen in the scriptural examples in the lives of the children of Israel. Before God can bring His people into the place of promise, they must be brought to a state of desperation to produce the necessary environment where judgment upon that which is unacceptable becomes obvious. This judgment ensures separation from that which is devastating to God’s people. Such judgment or separation serves as a means to redeem and prepare them for what is beneficial, causing them to walk in deliverance to possess and partake of that which has been promised. It is God’s desire ultimately to bring His people to a place of communion with Him. Communion points to agreement and fellowship.

       For the people of Israel, God allowed an uncomfortable environment to bring them into the Promised Land as a means to distribute His blessing to them. In the Promised Land, it would afford Him the opportunity to allocate His blessings of abundance to them for their benefit. In turn, these blessing were to be used to honor Him as their God and bless others in personal ways to ensure prosperity and an ongoing inheritance for generations to come.

       God had clearly prepared His people in the wilderness to enter the Promised Land. He had closed the way back to an old life of bondage and slavery when the Rea Sea closed behind them. He showed them that He was their provider when He provided water and manna to sustain them. He established their spiritual life at Mount Sinai with the giving of Law and the construction of the tabernacle. He prepared them as an army with the battles that had confronted them in the wilderness. He clearly changed their status as slaves in Egypt to become a viable kingdom or nation in the land of Canaan.

       Sadly, the children of Israel came up to the very door of opportunity to enter into the Promised Land, but failed to do so. What happened? Clearly, everything was in place for them to realize their inheritance. They had all the tools and means to acquire their possession as a people of Jehovah God. Instead of possessing their inheritance, they stopped dead in their tracks and declared that it was impossible to take possession of that which God had promised them.

       The children of Israel serve as a special example to Christians in relationship to possessing the complete or abundant life that has been made available to us. God has provided us with everything we have need of in relationship to obtaining the life He has ordained for us and the godliness in which to maintain it (2 Peter 1:3-4). For instance, the one example that has received my attention the most is that you can come up to all that God promises, but if you never enter into the life or place He has called you to, you will never possess His promises, thereby, obtaining the fullness of your inheritance that has been wrought by His redemption.

       It is a sad reality to realize that a whole generation of the children of Israel never partook of the promises of abundance attached to the Promised Land because of the bad report of a few individuals. We need to take these people’s example seriously and learn the lessons of why they failed in the end to take possession of what God had promised them. Let their example of failure serve as guideposts or warnings that we, as God’s people, soberly take note of for our personal examination and edification.

       The one aspect of the Promised Land that was made clear was that to possess its abundance, the people of Israel had to enter into it regardless of the obstacles. God was not calling His people to a place of fantasy where they would encounter some fairytale existence or some mythical land where He would wave a wand and they would suddenly be translated into a special place where all would live happily ever after. For the people to enjoy the fruits of the land they would have to possess it. The reality of it was that they were being prepared as an army and nation to enter into the land to lay claim to it as they defeated and drove out its inhabitants. God had provided all the means to possess it, but now the people had to go forth and take hold of it.

       To possess something one must prove he or she is capable and worthy of receiving it. The truth of the matter is you can hand the most valuable prized possession to someone, but if it is not worth fighting for, it is not worth valuing, laying hold of and maintaining in integrity. This is how man regards what he prizes. He must first choose to value something before he will relentlessly pursue it. He must prize it before he will sacrifice what is necessary to possess it. He must experience the importance of something before he will guard it in a proper and honorable way to maintain the integrity or value of it. Obviously, the people of Israel had to understand the value of what they were about to inherit. The Promised Land had to take on importance to them for them to count the necessary cost to possess it. In turn they would become worthy of receiving the inheritance that had been designated for them, along with the means of maintaining it.

       Scripture is clear that as Christians we first must enter through a narrow gate to begin to possess our inheritance (Matthew 7:13-14). When you consider the word “enter,” it involves seeing something through to the other side. The concept of “narrow” points a process of “travailing,” “struggle,” and “difficulty” that would take place before one could actually enter all the way through the gate provided. Obviously, there must be some awareness of those who enter in and through such a gate that what lies on the other side is worth possessing. Jesus stated that where a person’s heart is, is where his or her treasure will be. He posed the thought that if a person gains the whole world, but loses his or her soul, what has the individual truly profited? Obviously, that which is to be valued must be properly pursued, treasured and honored in order to receive the promises or inheritance that awaits the recipients.

       Hence enters some potent warnings from Jesus. Our Lord warned that many would strive to enter through the gate that leads to a new, abundant life, but few would succeed in doing so (Luke 13:24). There was one main reason for such a failure to occur in the lives of those who found themselves striving to find this entryway. These individuals would fail to find this gate. For people to fail to find something, points to the fact that they do not know what they are looking for. They have their own ideas as to how such an entryway will look and how to enter in. But, the reality is that they will miss the gate of opportunity to enter in because they are blinded to the only gate that the Lord has provided. The gate is marked by the work of redemption wrought on a cross. It is upheld by a distinct call to deny self with the intent of becoming identified with a complete work and application of a personal cross. Such an entry will appear unattractive, insignificant and foolish to those who have their own ideas as to how to enter into the promises of God.

       Through the years, I have watched the erection of many gates. Those who have erected these gates have declared that these entrances serve as entryways into the truths of God and into the life that has been promised. Granted these gates might require some type of religious activity that will give the appearance of piousness. They might lead into religious places that give the impression that the religion being presented is acceptable and successful. However, the criteria presented is based on the world’s evaluation and not on the person or work of Jesus.

        Scripture is clear that God provided the entryway that we each must enter in and through to experience the fullness of our inheritance. He has provided the way in which we must walk in order to possess the life that has been made available. This engranceserves as the only door we must enter by and the veil we must enter through to secure this life. On the other side of the gate are not elaborate earthly, religious kingdoms, but a narrow way that is marked by tribulation. Acts 14:22c gives us this exhortation as to where the narrow way leads: “…that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

       The door that God has provided may seem insignificant or foolish, but it is the only door that will identify each of us to the sheepfold that has been purchased by and belongs to the Lord of lords and King of kings. Jesus referred to those who refuse to humble themselves and enter through the door provided for His sheep as thieves (John 10:1). Obviously, such individuals are not only imposters who refuse to accept God’s provision, but they want to take possession of the life being offered on their terms. They want to come into the midst of God’s people according to their way of thinking and lay claim to something that is not rightfully their possession. They want to take possession of an inheritance that holds no real value to them. They want to benefit from something that they do not prize in an honorable way. In the end, they will take what they want as they trample under foot the real treasures of heaven.

       Obviously, individuals who fail to find the right gate will also fail to enter the only door made available to the Lord’s sheep. Such failure means they will end up standing far away from it as they become blinded to the only veil that leads into the secret chamber of communion. They may hang around the gate of religious convictions or walk around in the shadows of religious activities, but they will miss the only door and will not be able to see clearly to walk through the veil. Fear of exposure will keep them hidden in the shadows of religion, while the pretense of religion may satisfy their conscience, but they will never know or experience the real treasure of heaven. They may be on the outside looking in, but they will never be on the inside looking up into the glorious face of Jesus. They may be running around the outskirts of communion, but they will never enter into the revelation of His glory.

       The Bible is clear. There is only one entryway, one door of opportunity and one veil that leads into blessed communion. The gate is Jesus’ redemption; the door is the person of Jesus, and the veil points to total identification with the ministry of Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. To ignore God’s provision is to strive in vain to enter into the fullness of His redemption, to become a thief concerning His promises, and to miss the only opportunity afforded each of us to enter into the complete life that has been made available.

       What about you? The Bible is clear that it is appointed unto man to die once, then judgment. Our lives are but a vapor in light of eternity. Therefore, the window of opportunity to get it right by entering into what has been provided for us is very narrow indeed. We do not have time to be flippant or debate the matter. We have been given the measure of faith to enter into an eternal inheritance during an appointed time and at an appointed place to secure the promises of God. We must see the urgency of resolving this matter, and the need to recognize the days and times in which we live so that we can identify what is being opened to us. We must be willing and prepared to enter all the way in and through the opening or the entryway provided for us, to secure our real eternal possession.