No one can really force another to believe something. God Himself doesn’t do that. God’s desire is that we come to Him freely. He’s never forced anyone to become part of His kingdom. Today He’s offering us an invitation to become a citizen of His kingdom.
There are two kinds of righteousness. Righteousness by our own good works and the free gift of righteousness that God gives when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14; emphasis).
When we accept Jesus and make Him our Lord, we’re literally becoming citizens of His kingdom. Let’s look at it from this perspective. If we’re citizens of the U.S., when we die, France doesn’t demand our body be returned to France. France has no legal right to us. And it doesn’t matter how good a citizen we were. The same with the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t matter how good a person we may be when we die, if we don’t belong to His kingdom, He has no legal jurisdiction to claim us. We may be wonderful people, but there’s a legal side to consider. God can and does bless people for being good folks, but that doesn’t make them a citizen of God’s kingdom. On the other hand, if we were to take an oath of citizenship to France, then France has a right to receive us.
Thinking along this line, the world’s condition becomes clearer. Consider what happened when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden. His disobedience caused him to die spiritually. Spiritual death in the Bible is separation from God. God is life and the father of life. The legal precedent for rebellion was Satan’s rebellion and the judgement upon him. Satan was cursed; no longer supported by God. When Adam rebelled, there was no other mechanism in place to redeem the offender. There was only separation from God. Adam became separated from God, and the blessing became a curse. Adam’s spiritual leader and father became a spiritual outlaw — the devil. Adam’s offspring by default followed him into the kingdom of darkness. Think about it. If we as parents leave the our country and become citizens of a country ruled by a tyrant, any children we take with us, or are born in that nation, become ruled by the same tyrant. Maybe we were fooled into thinking we were going to utopia, but our deception doesn’t undue the legal claim the tyrant has on us. We just can’t leave when we want and return to the country we left, especially if treason was the reason we left.
God loved us and wanted us back in His kingdom, but He had no legal claim anymore. We became citizens of Satan’s kingdom, and Satan is a deceptive tyrant. Whatever judgement awaits Satan now awaits us. God cannot sin, so kidnapping is out of the question. Besides, the spiritual condition of the human race had become sin based and opposed by nature to the things of the Kingdom of God. God’s main issues were to legally separate humans from the kingdom of darkness and restore the nature of man to righteousness: a nature that doesn’t oppose God’s kingdom. Humans were now linked to the devil. God couldn’t just forgive man and not the devil; nor could God destroy the Satan without destroying humans. Not legally. So how was God going to address the issue of restoring righteousness to mankind?
The answer was for God to give us His very own righteousness. A righteousness that we don’t earn. But how? A substitution; a sin offering. But the offering had to be a substitution that was in perfect righteousness with Himself. He gave us His only begotten son — Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Romans 3:10, 21-22; emphasis mine).
It’s an open invitation. There’s a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. We’re free to choose, to decide, to investigate. But we’re not free from the consequences of our decisions.
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
A confession of faith in Jesus Christ is accepting and swearing allegiance to the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are then born again spiritually and made citizens of His kingdom. We are made righteous with God’s very own righteousness. His children. Think about it: those of us who have children know that those children are right with us by reason that they are our children. They didn’t earn righteousness. Righteousness is a position and they’re born into it. Does God want us to live righteous lives. Absolutely. But the platform we’re working from is being born again into righteousness. We’re not working from a platform that demands we do works to become righteous. A tree that bears apples does so because it’s an apple tree. Tying apples to a maple tree doesn’t make it an apple tree. Bearing the fruits of righteousness is a result of the fruit of the born again spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). Tying the fruit of the spirit onto a dead spirit doesn’t make it a living spirit that’s right with God.
This is your personal invitation to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Ask Him, according to Romans 10:9-10, to be your Lord. He will, and you will become a citizen of the Kingdom of God.