Enter the Kingdom

By James Randall Robison Published on May 19, 2024

When we think of the kingdom that Jesus established — the one that is “not of this world” — it can seem distant and far away. But Simon Peter, ever the practical guide, wrote very specific instructions to help us walk in this new kingdom. In his second letter, written to fellow believers, he provides a list of things to practice because it is “in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you” (1 Peter 1:11, NASB). Keep in mind that he is writing to believers, so this is not a list of rules for us to obtain salvation, but practical steps to grow in our faith and experience all that Christ has prepared for us.

Here are the instructions he provides:

“…applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love” (v 5b-8).

Of course, we cannot do these things on our own, for they are “precious and magnificent promises” that “He has granted to us” (v4). They are obtained by abiding in Christ, surrendering to the Holy Spirit, and, according to Peter, “practicing” them (v10). The word translated as “practice” can also be translated as “carry out, execute, construct.” This implies a purposeful discipline on our part.

Applying All Diligence

Let’s take a closer look at his list. First, he urges us to do this with “all diligence.” This implies “haste” and “earnestness.” Don’t just think about it, read about it, or talk about it. Do it and do it now!

He starts with “moral excellence,” which is an all-encompassing idea, but it’s important to note that these virtues are not determined by man. They come from our faith in the truth revealed through Jesus Christ. The world’s virtues can change or be in conflict with God’s virtues. The only morality that is excellent is that which is rooted in the grace and truth that Christ fully exhibited and taught.

Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic, and Moral Issues of Our Day.

Next, Peter emphasizes “knowledge.” Harkening back to the book of Proverbs, we are urged to study the truth God has revealed, seek understanding, and grow in wisdom. This is where Scripture, community, and wise counsel play an important role. The Bible forms our foundation. Gathering with other believers builds on that foundation. Discussing biblical concepts with mature, stable Christians helps shape a proper view and implement them into our core being.

Interestingly, he follows that with “self-control.” This means conquering the base desires that come from our fallen humanity, even after being born again. Again, this requires effort on our part. In the knowledge from the pages of scripture, we learn the process of temptation (see James 1:13-15) so that we can recognize it in ourselves and take such thoughts captive, force them into submission to the Holy Spirit, and overcome the sin that lingers.

A Path to Love and Brotherly Kindness

This practice of self-control is a prerequisite to the virtue of perseverance. The testing of our faith produces endurance, James tells us, so temptation will be a part of our sanctification. We don’t fall into guilt or shame, but rather we “count it all joy” as we grow steadfast in our faith. Remember, Jesus was tempted in all things, but never sinned. When temptation comes our way, we must learn to utilize it as a tool to grow in perseverance.

This step leads to “godliness,” which is a deep reverence for the ways of our Lord. Paul told his protégé Timothy that “godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (I Timothy 4:8). Part of the promise in this present life is that it ushers us into Christ’s eternal kingdom even in this fallen world. “Your kingdom come,” Jesus taught us to pray. “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). When God’s will is done in our lives, His heavenly kingdom is manifest here on earth.

Then comes “brotherly kindness” and “love.” This is often where we wish to start, but I believe there is purpose in Peter’s progression. We must first practice the excellence of Godly morality, grow in our knowledge of His word, stand firm against the sin that so easily entangles us, and attain a deep, controlling reverence for God before we can exhibit true kindness to others and the agape love indicative of His nature. Each habit and characteristic builds on one another. It provides a roadmap to kingdom living.

Again, we embark on this journey of spiritual growth not to earn our salvation. That is a free gift to be received through faith. It is so that we may become “partakers of the divine nature,” according to Peter (v4). He later adds this beautiful promise: “for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble” (v10).

If you want to experience heaven on earth and impact others with the presence of Christ’s kingdom, take Peter’s instructions to heart. Start at the beginning and work diligently every day to cultivate them in your life. The path to His kingdom has been laid out for you. Now walk in it.

 

James Randall Robison is a writer, producer, and host for the television program LIFE Today.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Like the article? Share it with your friends! And use our social media pages to join or start the conversation! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MeWe and Gab.

Inspiration
Military Photo of the Day: Transiting the Baltic Sea
Tom Sileo
More from The Stream
Connect with Us