A.W. Tozer wrote, “The happiness of all moral creatures lies in the giving of obedience to God, the Creator. The angels in heaven find their complete freedom and highest happiness in obeying the commandments of God. They do not find it tyranny – they find it a delight! Here is something that we should know and realize: Heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God, and it is heaven because it is such a place.”
The Garden of Eden was a perfect place. But when the surrender to the whole will of God was broken there, darkness entered the souls of mankind, and peace was lost to them. Sin ruled in their hearts and they were evicted from the Garden. They found themselves outside the presence of God. That sinful state was passed on to us, the seed of Adam.
From that root of sin in us, acts of sin spring up everywhere, like weeds multiplying at an uncontrollable rate. We have no means to remove it. A perfectly sinless sacrifice was the only way to save us from the destruction set in motion by the devil, and that excluded all of us. We are completely helpless to save ourselves, and hell was our destination until Jesus changed that for us at great cost to Himself, the shedding of His blood. Why did He take our place? Because He loves us and He wants what is best for us. He wants us to have all that He planned for us in the beginning. Adam brought sin on us all. But Jesus brought righteousness to all who will receive Him. “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19, NKJV)
We now have a choice to enter the kingdom of God or remain rooted in this world. “God has made it plain that hell is a real place, a final abode for people who do not want to love God and serve Him!” (A.W. Tozer) God doesn’t force us to live in His kingdom. He doesn’t force us to love Him or serve Him. If we so choose, we can stay rooted right where we are in this world’s kingdom until we face God in the judgment, at which time hell will become the “final abode”. We are free to reject Jesus’ sacrifice, but we will never live free without Him.
Heaven is not the home of those who reject Jesus Christ. However, we can choose to live in the kingdom of God. If we do, our roots must to be taken out of the soil of the world and transplanted into the good soil of God’s kingdom. From roots planted deep in the rich soil of God’s kingdom, the fruit of righteousness will prevail.
Jesus always operated in the realm of God’s kingdom while He walked in human flesh on this earth. That is why He remained sinless and unmoved in the face of opposition, temptations, danger or confusion. He was never swept into camaraderie with this world. Nor was He caught up in the drama of circumstances. He simply took charge of them. Jesus stayed firmly rooted in the kingdom of God. He was free to hear the voice of the Father and obey Him. We can be, too.
A kingdom is “the territory subject to the rule of a king.” We can submit ourselves to Satan, the prince of this world’s kingdom, or we can be born again into the kingdom of God, submitting to the King of kings. These two kingdoms are diametrically opposed. We cannot live in both.
The world as we know it is full of evil and has a ruler, Satan. Yet Satan has his boundaries that God will not allow him to exceed. Many people, some knowingly and others unknowingly, listen to Satan and try to find fulfillment through other avenues of spirituality, but they remain outside of God’s Kingdom. There is only one Truth, one way to God and one way to receive eternal life. His name is Jesus.
Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came into the world to “destroy the works of the devil” and “to seek and to save that which was lost.” What was lost? Our right standing with God that allows us to live, move and have our being in His kingdom. We, as Adam and Eve, were standing outside the Garden. But when we enter a covenant with God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can move into the kingdom of God with the living Word and the light of God’s Spirit within us to reveal the will of God. Our part of the covenant is to “surrender to the whole will of God”. By His grace we are free to surrender to His will and walk in the Spirit. There we will find freedom, power and wisdom beyond anything this world has to offer. It is a delight to walk in the will of God.
Jesus came preaching and teaching the kingdom of God, inviting us to enter in. “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed or with a visible display; nor will people say, “Look! Here it is!” For the kingdom of God is among you [because of My presence].” (Luke 17:20b-21, Amplified Bible) The King James Version of the Bible says, “the kingdom of God is within you.” Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, His presence, to live in us. He will not reside in us if our hearts, minds and actions are still submitting to the world.
We need to carefully comprehend the words of Jesus when He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) It is very clear that insubordination to the will of God has no place in the kingdom of God. Those who choose to reject His will also reject His grace and salvation.
Recently I have felt God calling His people to become more aware of His kingdom and more responsive to His presence. He spoke to my heart one day to ‘listen’ to Him, then repeated the message from two other sources. Since then, I have found that God is speaking to many of His children to ‘listen’. Not to listen to just any voice, but to listen exclusively to the Spirit of God. We need to be attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit to know the mind and will of God. He has something significant to say to us. When we hear what the Holy Spirit is saying, we are being led by the Spirit. As we follow what we hear from Him, we are walking in the Spirit. In that way, we are living in the realm of the kingdom of God although we are physically very much in this world. He may speak to us about something in our lives that needs to change, a person we need to speak to, or a place we need to go. I have found the more I listen, the more He reveals to me of His Word, His will and Himself. There are times I feel overwhelmed in His nearness.
The most precious part of the kingdom of God is that the presence of the King is there. And that should be our greatest delight. There is perfect peace and harmony in the presence of God, and in releasing our will to His will. That is where Jesus found strength to completely humble Himself to the will of the Father, even unto death – in the realm of God’s kingdom. There we have access to the throne through prayer. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Jesus instructed His disciples to pray differently than the long, showy public prayers offered by the Pharisees. They were all performed so other people would see and hear them. Jesus told His disciples when they prayed to ”go into your most private room, close the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees [what is done] in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 Amplified Bible) What is our reward? The presence of God. He wants us to really know Him, to leave the world behind and come close to Him. One on one.
Remember what God told Abraham? “Fear not Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” God had promised Abraham a country and descendents as the stars of the heavens and the sands of the sea. But the greatest reward Abraham received was God Himself. How could Abraham stand in God’s presence? Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6) His faith led to obedience. Obedience led him closer to God. Abraham made some mistakes, but he believed God and acted accordingly, and he was called the friend of God.
To submit to the Word and will of God is evidence of our belief in Him. Disobedience is evidence that we do not really believe.
To those who believe, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises.” But our greatest reward is to know Him and to live now and forever in His presence.
“Heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God,
and it is heaven because it is such a place.”