If our aim is off, we miss the bullseye and may even miss the target. Many Christians think the bullseye is going to Heaven after living a full life. But going to Heaven is one of the goalposts, not the bullseye. The other goalpost is eternal life. And between the goal post of Heaven and eternal life, we find the kingdom of God. I know this analogy is a mix of a field goal and darts, but go with me on this journey of knowledge anyway. You will be all the better for it. I teach God's ways so that you may be aware of His work in and around you.

Throw me a rope! I like discovering three strong cords in the Word of God. I have over fifty now. If we are stuck in a pit and need a way out, a rope is necessary to pull us out! Eternal Life, Heaven, & the Kingdom of God is a rope, a three-strong cord that pulls us out of the pit of sin and death.

Let me lay out some definitions so we are on the same page with the Word of God.

Let's define Eternal Life in one strand. The promise of Eternal life is for those who believe in God enough to follow Jesus to the cross, the grave, and the throne. Those crucified with Him are raised to sit with Him in high places. Eternal life has a straightforward definition, as Jesus gave it to us. This is eternal life, to know God and His Son whom He sent. Eternal life, summed up, is knowing God. We can know God! Israel knew God's signs, wonders, and miracles, but Moses knew God's ways. Eternal life is going from knowing the signs of God to learning His ways. Knowing the acts of God is not the same as knowing God's ways.

Let's define Heaven, another strand. Heaven is plural in scripture as there are multiple heavens. The third Heaven is where God the Father and His Son Jesus reside in His resurrected body. The captive saints that Jesus set free during His three days in the Earth are also in the third Heaven, along with the disembodied spirits who died since then, trusting in Jesus. And there is New Jerusalem with its golden streets, gates of pearl, emeralds, and other jewels.

The second Heaven is the space between and around Earth, and the third Heaven. The first Heaven appears to be a planet like Earth, as Heaven and Earth have a synced time. A thousand years on Earth is as one day in Heaven. Satan caused a rebellion in the 2nd Heaven and then brought the rebellion down to the first Heaven, where Adam was in charge.

The first Heaven is the Earth, in disarray from the rebellion towards God's authority. The Earth will once again be seen as a heaven when the glory of God fills the Earth as the waters cover the seas.

Many people assume Heaven is coming to Earth one day; this is partly true. Heaven is coming in the form of the kingdom of God, which I define next. But Heaven is not relocating to Earth. However, the New Jerusalem in the third Heaven will relocate to the first Heaven, otherwise known as the Earth, after the world is cleansed by fire.

Let's define the Kingdom of God as the third strand. The kingdom of God is the goal, not an option, for those who want to make a more diligent effort. It has been the goal throughout the Bible. The disciples thought Jesus came to overthrow the Roman oppressors and reinstate the kingdom of God. The true oppressors now occupy the Earth, but it wasn't so initially. But the disciples didn't understand the magnitude of the fall of man, that all of creation was corrupt and had to be recreated from the inside out, the unseen first, then the seen. The Father intends to deliver individuals from oppression into the kingdom of God before dealing with the world's oppressors.

Suppose we are delivered from the outside oppression before we are delivered from the inside oppression. In that case, we will either become oppressors ourselves or look for another oppressor to lead us back to Egypt. Instead of delivering Israel from the Roman oppressor, Jesus went around doing good and delivering people from the oppression of the devil on the inside. God will clean the cup from the inside, and the outside will also be clean.

The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus came with a kingdom not of this world to impart it to believers, delivering us from the inside oppression of the enemy of our souls.

One day, Jesus will return to the Earth with the armies of His kingdom to overthrow the oppressors and set up His kingdom. But until then, only those born-again can perceive the kingdom of God that is here, but only within.

We are to pray thy kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. We are to seek first the kingdom of God. And Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born again from above to see the kingdom of God and born of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God was at hand during Jesus' ministry on Earth. But now that Jesus, in His resurrected body, sits at the Father's right hand, ever making intercession for those who love God, the kingdom of God is here on Earth with The Holy Spirit.

The kingdom of God is all the space that comes under the authority of God the Father and God the Son. It is not a natural kingdom that we can use with our five senses. The kingdom of God is within those who have peacefully turned from rebellion and come under the rule and authority of almighty God.

The kingdom of God stretches from the third Heaven to Earth. But only the born-again see. One day, every eye will see the kingdom come. The kingdom of God is not a physical place but a spiritual space where we have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We will not inherit the kingdom of God if we give ourselves to the works of the flesh. Some people who want to save their flesh have come up with doctrines of men. These carnal ministers make the kingdom of God optional for those who want to go the extra mile and rule with Christ on His throne. They say you can live in the flesh and still go to Heaven with eternal life as a citizen of the kingdom of God. But you forfeit your inheritance as a co-labor and ruler with Christ. They have mistaken the rewards and lost rewards at the judgment seat of Christ with the inheritance of the kingdom given to all the children of God.

How can the born-again enter Heaven with eternal life but not have the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, not have the peace of God beyond understanding, and not have the joy of the Lord that comes from the Holy Spirit? We must enter the kingdom of God to enter Heaven with eternal life. We will be lost if we do the works of the flesh and not the spirit, which must be by grace. Ruling with Christ involves how we lived with the resources we were given. Were we faithful? Were we fruitful? Did we multiply what we had? Some born-again people will receive cities to rule over, while others will lose everything but their citizenship in the kingdom of God. They maintain their righteousness in Christ, peace of God, and joy in the Holy Spirit because it is by the grace of God.

Do you want to know the difference between a true doctrine of God and a false doctrine of men? Ask yourself, does this doctrine force me to live a crucified life in Christ, or does it give room for my flesh to flourish? The flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Why wouldn't our flesh choose the easier road if it is offered? If we can enjoy our flesh and escape damnation at the same time, why fully surrender if it is going to cost everything? But the Father gave everything in His Son, and we are to respond by losing our life to find His. Total surrender is the only offer on the table. We surrender from a place of grace where we are and surrender every time our will conflicts with the Father's will. Anything less than total surrender is the doctrine of the flesh and man.

Let's define man. We are a triune being. Like our triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, we are a new spirit created by God, a soul bought by Jesus with His blood, and a body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit to be redeemed at the resurrection.

Eternal life is given to our spirit man, outside of time in eternity, where we cannot sin but are kept by God's holiness and will. Heaven is given to our newly glorified, resurrected bodies so that we can live in Heaven and on Earth. And the kingdom of God is given to our soul, which is also triune.

The kingdom of God is a place of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Righteousness for our will is essential because we want to be in the right standing with God and people when possible. We need peace that surpasses understanding for our minds and thoughts. And we need the joy of the Lord, which is our strength in our emotions. Our soul is transformed to live in the kingdom of God of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit and not conformed to the death of this passing world.

Entering the kingdom of God is an inheritance before or at entering Heaven with eternal life. We need to be delivered from internal oppression before the deliverance of the external oppressor. Israel was delivered from the oppressor Pharoh, but most of Israel died in the wilderness before they could enter their promised land because they wouldn't allow God to deliver them from the oppression from the inside of their soul. Whatever is inside us will be carried into the promised land if God allowed it. And He doesn't it.

Let's define Born-Again. Born-again is the beginning of salvation. It isn't the goal but a goalpost. The new birth is only given to those seeking righteousness, peace, and joy in Christ. It is given to those who believe Jesus' words.

But Western Christianity has made being born-again the end goal rather than the start of something new. Once achieved, they believe there is nothing else to do but live the best life we can because we have Jesus as an overdraft account when we come up short. Have we forgotten that even our best in righteousness falls short of the glory of God? Even our righteousness is in deficit!

To be born-again is a new start, a second chance. To be born-again is outside help on the inside. When we don't have it, we must look outside of us. And when we look outside of us, we are looking for a Savior. And if Jesus is that Savior, we become one-third born-again—more on this in the following newsletter.

Yes, one-third of our being is born-again. Two-thirds remain to be redeemed. Man is a triune being. To be born-again is to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. We receive a new spirit and a new heart. But our soul, will, thoughts, and emotions are not born again. And our body is not born-again. We are one-third born again in spirit—a deposit of what will come.

Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born-again to enter the kingdom of God. Do we enter the womb of our mother again? No, but we are in the spiritual womb of Jesus.

When God created Adam, He said that man should not be alone but needs a helpmate. So, God put Adam to sleep, cut open his side, and formed Eve from a rib. God then sewed up Adam and awakened him to his new bride.

God, the Father, has and is doing this again with the last Adam, Jesus. God, the Father, put Jesus to sleep on the cross and cut open His side. And from that day on the cross to today, God is taking the born-again out of the flesh of Jesus to rule beside Him in the garden. Those crucified with Him are also raised with Him. And soon, we will awaken to our newfound righteousness in Christ Jesus.

Pregnancy has a trimester. When we become born-again, we enter the first trimester of escaping Egypt. The second trimester is going through the wilderness to remove the oppression through renewing the mind. The third trimester crosses over into the promised land, the kingdom of God. In the promised land, we learn to overthrow the giant oppressors that challenge our righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Greater is He that is in us than what's in the world. One day, the fulfillment of being fully born-again will be completed at our bodies' resurrection—more on this in the following newsletter.

Last, let's define what it means to be saved. Born-again, eternal life, and saved are often used interchangeably. But they do have their differences. We are saved by grace through faith and not in the works we do, lest we can claim credit for a work only God can do. When we become born-again by receiving and believing Jesus as Lord, we are saved by being born-again. But we are also being saved while going through this wilderness of life and will be saved at the resurrection of the dead unto eternal life.

Do you know anyone alive who is fully saved? I don't. Paul said he was working on it but has yet to arrive. We have a mind or soul to renew and a body that is appointed to die. So, we are saved, being saved, and will be saved if we hold to the faith that we believed in from the beginning.

I was privileged to go to a Baptist church on Wednesdays for a year, where I ran into the debate once saved, always saved. I discussed this with the pastor. He believed that once saved, always saved if you were saved. I countered him with, once saved, always saved if you were and still want to be saved.

We don't lose our will after being born again. We must submit our will to the will of God in total surrender. Not my will, but you will be done! Learning to bow one's knee to the one who saved us from sin and death is a lifetime response to His grace. We lay aside our will and carnal efforts with God's grace as we cannot give birth to ourselves.

Over the next few weeks, God willing, I will show you God's ways of choosing who is appointed for salvation and why. How to be born again and not miscarry or abort our salvation. Most born-again Christians do not carry to full-term. Most miscarry their salvation and suffer loss, but not eternity. However, we can abort salvation and be forever lost if we so choose. There is no fire insurance, only assurance. And this assurance is found in a daily crucified life to Christ in the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don't have to worry about tomorrow or if we will make it or not when our eyes are upon Jesus daily.

Until next week, I ask you to change your emphasis on Heaven and receiving eternal life to every day seeking first the kingdom of God in His righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Everything else will follow.

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