Jesus once said to a man, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34). Christ said that because that man had a genuine interest in the truth, and was willing to acknowledge the truth when he heard it. In some ways he was like some today, who have good qualities—but are not yet Christians.
It is possible to believe the Bible is God’s word, and still not be a Christian. It is possible to know what the Scriptures teach on certain subjects, and not be saved. It is even possible to be morally upright, but not be in God’s kingdom. People like this are like the man Jesus spoke to: they are near the kingdom of God.
The danger facing people near the kingdom, but not in the kingdom, is the possibility of neglecting to actually enter it. It is commendable to have attitudes that make one almost a Christian, but there is a great difference between being saved and being almost saved. Like a runner near the finish line, people who are not far from the kingdom of God must keep on going until they enter it by being actually born again.
“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’” (John 3:5). (See also, vs. 3, 7).
Some, who once were close to the kingdom, now seem far away from it. They did not act on their convictions, and their convictions grew weak. They did not overcome obstacles, and the obstacles grew more difficult to overcome. It is essential to actually experience the new birth and really become part of God’s family.
By David Watts Sr.