Another email I answered. This one asked how my teaching is any different from Muslim teaching if I teach that we must do good works to enter the kingdom of heaven after the judgment. I kindly avoided saying that one big difference is that I do not advocate conquering other people, tribes, and countries and putting them to the sword if they do not convert. Of course, that makes me different than the Roman Catholics as well as different than the Muslims. Anyway, here’s my reply.
Before I address your question, we better define “kingdom of heaven.” I think we “enter” the kingdom twice. We are part of God’s kingdom when we get saved/born again. We become part of God’s kingdom on earth, and we look forward to receiving eternal life at the judgment and living eternally in the heavenly kingdom once it comes to earth.
That said, I believe we enter God’s kingdom now by faith in Jesus as Christ, Son of God, and Lord (Jn. 20:31; Rom. 10:9-10). When this happens, we are given all things that pertain to life and godliness, become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Pet. 1:3-4). Thus, we are both delivered from and forgiven for our sins (Tit. 2:11-14). (Of course, I am not talking about sinless perfection, but I am talking about a noticeable transfer from being moved by the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience [Eph. 2:1-3] to walking in the light [Eph. 5:8-10; 1 Jn. 1:7].)
We then live our life by the life of Jesus, walking by the Spirit, as described in Romans 8:3-8 and Galatians 2:20. Through the Spirit, we build on our faith by adding virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. If these things are in us and increasing, we will not be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus. If we do not, then we will forget that we were purged of our old sins (2 Pet. 1:5-9).
Peter follows up by saying that if we “diligently do these things” we will make our calling and election sure and we will reap an abundant entrance into Jesus’ everlasting kingdom (2 Pet. 1:10-11). In a similar vein, Galatians 6:7-9 says that if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the Spirit we will reap everlasting life. The next verse then says not to grow weary in doing good because we will eventually (in due season) reap if we do not lose heart. Obviously, then, putting verses 8 and 9 of Galatians 6 together, if we sow to the Spirit, then we will be able to avoid growing weary, and by patiently continuing to do good, we will reap everlasting life (cf. Rom. 2:6-7).
I hope I have explained my statement that we will enter the eternal kingdom after our judgment only if we have done good works. I trust this also explains why what I teach bears no similarity to Islam at all. Remember, though, that while Islam is a terrible, strange deviation from Christianity, it was indeed a deviation from Christianity. Mohammed was influenced by both Christianity and Judaism, and he twisted them together into a monstrous travesty of the true faith. It should be no surprise, then, if there are surface resemblances to Christianity or Judaism here and there, just as there are resemblances between Mormonism and Christianity, but one is not the other.
Again, thank you for writing. I would be happy to answer any further questions you have.