Hebrews 9:27 tells us “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” Matthew 16:27 says that “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Save those alive at Jesus’ return, the dead, according to scripture, will face the consequences of the choice to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior or not.
Anyone with the slightest of belief in Jehovah, the Almighty God, expresses his desire to go to heaven at the end of his life. When asked Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? There is an emphatic “Yes!” to that question from most people regardless of how committed to their faith they are. Most of us desire what’s best, but a few people are willing to sacrifice and pursue it. Matthew captured that Jesus said, ““Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” John tells us that “2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”
Are you listening to the voice of The Lord God? Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? In 2 Peter 1, He gives us the answer to that question. Listen to the Word of The Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Without trying to cover too much text, Peter was giving encouragement and direction to the followers of Christ on how to ensure that they Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are called to give effort to live in the manner outlined by God. Starting in verse five, we see a series of attributes we are called to pursue and make ours. We are called to add to our faith, which we get from God, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perserverance, godliness, mutual affection (brotherly kindness), and love. In other words, we must seek to make those attributes true in our lives. We must apply the Word of God in our lives.
When Peter tells us to confirm or make our calling and election sure, he is not indicating that we could lose our place in Christ but rather we should ensure that we are of God by pursuing the attributes of God to make ours. How can we be sure that God called us, and that we are His elect? By doing these things spoken of in 2 Peter 1:5-7 (faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love). The reward first in this world is the ability to never stumble. Being aware of where pitfalls and obstacles enables one to avoid stumbling or falling. Beyond this world, the reward is a rich welcome in the the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Not just a welcome, but a rich welcome. Peter is reminding us that we can enter heaven in two ways: gloriously, or as through fire.
Let me help you remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3 “10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
If you will enter heaven, you have two possible entrances. Do You Want to Receive a Rich Welcome into the Eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? If so, Peter is clear on how you should proceed. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
Will your entrance into heaven be rich or will you enter it, poorly with nothing to bare to God other than yourself? There is nothing we can take into heaven other than a refined character that matches Christ and the credit from God of souls won for Christ. Which will it be for you?