What is your position on Galatians 5:2? Is “inherit the Kingdom of God” compared to salvation or is it dealing with rewards?


The Christian's relationship to God is described by several metaphors in the Bible. One is seeing a Christian as a child of God. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Romans 8:16-17). As children of God, we then have the right to inherit from our Father.

The inheritance is eternal life. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life" (Matthew 19:29). It is not an inheritance given in this life. "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (I Corinthians 15:50). The inheritance is something that comes later, after this life is over. "In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14). That is why the Spirit is the down payment or guarantee of what we have not yet received. Or as Paul told the Colossians, "giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light" (Colossians 1:12). It is something Christians look forward to receiving. "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Colossians 3:23-24).

Though Christians are given salvation when they become children of God, in a very real sense what they have is the promise of salvation. "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15). The promise is so certain that we can speak of actually having it, yet we won't be completely rescued from sin until we enter the place where there is no sin. "Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ" (Hebrews 1:14).

The inheritance is awaiting Christians in heaven. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:3-5).

Since it is Christians who will gain eternal life and Christians compose God's Kingdom, then it is proper to say that the saved who enter heaven become a part of the eternal kingdom. "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32; also Acts 26:18). Thus, we also find statements that we will inherit the kingdom. In speaking of the final Judgment, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 25:34).

Since sin will not and cannot be in heaven, those who live lives of sin will not be a part of the inheritance of the kingdom. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Because sins are of this world, sinners cannot be a part of the spiritual kingdom. "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). "For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5).

"It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:6-8).