And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. – Revelation 20:4
It doesn’t take a doctor of political science to look at governments, regardless of type, and see they are steeped in corruption, waste, injustices, and too frequently chaos. Revolutions worked by people are not likely to promote any permanent or even long-lasting change. The American Revolution is about 250 years old and its already arguably experiencing existential threats to its constitutional federal republic. There are rumblings of a “Great Awakening” amongst the masses to rise up and put down a “deep state” establishment cabal and its cronies. But honestly, while there is a glimmer of hope for draining the swamp and bringing criminal elites to justice, what we have here now, doesn’t come close to comparing with what lays around the corner in the not too distant future. God’s kingdom, the one so many have been praying so long for, is coming.
The Bible speaks of some incredible earth impacting events in our future. There is a departure, a translation, a rapture of Christians from this world to be with Jesus. This will usher in a seven-year world wide period of tribulation the likes of which have never before been matched in history. It will be a time of retribution and God’s righteous wrath, as well as repentance and revival. It will be a time that literally shakes this world to its core. And then, Jesus will return visibly to this earth to establish His kingdom.
The Bible states when Jesus comes, “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). At this second coming of Jesus Christ, He will bring His people with Him and involve them in His earthly rule. “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14-15). “Ungodly. . . ungodly. . . ungodly. . . ungodly” are the people of the earth at this time. But Jesus comes this second time with “a rod of iron” to rule the nations (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; 12:5; 19:15). And He will use us, His saints, to enforce His justice and kingdom in this world.
There is a new kingdom coming and it will be run by a holy political party. It will be like nothing ever seen before. What will it be like to reign and rule with Jesus? In Revelation we catch a glimpse:
Revelation 20:4-6 – “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
The Bible tells us that during the millennial reign of Jesus on earth that those who return with Him will rule with Him. “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them” (20:4a). Jesus followers will reign with Him on earth during the Millennium. They will sit in judgment of the world and enforce Jesus’ holy justice. They will no doubt be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do this and do it in a Christlike way. Jesus’ followers will have authority, delegated to them by Jesus, to oversee this world. This will be a true theocracy, a just theocracy. It will be God’s Kingdom come on earth.
Keep in mind that those listed here are important to recognize. These are those of whom it can be said, “This is the first resurrection.6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (20:5b-6). You do want to be a part of this group!
Those not in this group are referred to as “But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished” (20:5a). It’s at the end of the thousand-year kingdom reign of Jesus that there will be a Great White Throne Judgment where final sentencing of souls lost for eternity takes place. You don’t want to be a part of this group!
Reigning-with -Jesus Attributes
Who will reign with Jesus? All the saints throughout history as well as those who have been martyred for their faith in Jesus during the Tribulation. We will reign with Jesus during the Millennium. But we can also reign with Jesus now. We can be “more than conquerors through Him who loves us,” through God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37-39). We can experience victory in Jesus now. In these verses, those who reign with Christ are identified in the following ways. And these attributes can be tasted and experienced now in preparation for what lays ahead. What are some of the attributes of those who reign with Jesus? What does the conquering life in Christ look like?
First, those who will reign with Jesus are those who give their life for the Lord – “the souls of those who had been beheaded. . .” (20:4b). Those who will reign with Jesus have literally given their life for Him. They have suffered martyrdom rather than give in to the demand for worship by the beast during the Tribulation. Giving one’s life is the supreme surrender to the Lord. There is nothing more precious and more valuable to us than the life God has gifted to us.
Jesus said during His first coming, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:24-27). Martyrdom does not save us. Faith in Jesus saves us. But our greatest privilege, our greatest gift to Jesus, would be giving our life for Him. That’s what these saints who reign with Him have done.
Second, those who will reign with Jesus witness for Him no matter what, “the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus” (20:4c). During the Tribulation the beast will demand worship. He will not permit any other challengers to his place in people’s lives. He will require all other worship to take a back seat to worship of himself. That of course, is totally unacceptable to the Christian. The life motto of the Christian is, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). It is, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Sin of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Those who reign with Jesus are those who take a stand in witness for Jesus no matter what.
The Apostle Paul was inspired to write of such a reigning mindset when he said:
2 Corinthians 4 – Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Those who reign with Jesus see any sacrifice, even giving their life, as a “light affliction, which is but for a moment,” that, “is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Can you say that?
Third, those who will reign with Jesus revere God’s word, “the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness . . . for the word of God” (20:4d). In His word, God states, “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name” (Psalm 138:2). Psalm 119 speak of the magnificent treasure God has given us in His word. “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life” (Psalm 119:92-93). These who reign with Jesus have given their lives “for the word of God,” but they knew Jesus’ words, “Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:26). God’s word bolstered them through persecution and even martyrdom. They clung to the word of God even to the point of death. God’s word is truth! (e.g. John 17:17). Truth is always worth dying for. Are you committed to God’s word? Do you receive it, read it, revere it, seek the Spirit to reveal its meaning to you? Do you stand on God’s word? Do you stand by God’s word, even when it isn’t trendy, even when it is contradicted by the everchanging world?
Fourth, those who will reign with Jesus are worshipers, “who had not worshiped the beast or his image” (20:4e). These are those who worship Jesus and Him alone. The “mark of the beast” is an indication of people who had sworn allegiance to the beast. The “beast,” remember, is Satan’s attempt to copy the incarnation of God in Christ. The “beast” is the devil incarnate; possessed by the devil. Taking the mark of the beast is an act of worship (Revelation 19:20). The mark is a sign or pledge of submitting to his leadership and rule. Taking the mark is damning because it is a statement of rejection of God in Christ in preference to worship of the devil in the beast.
“The mark” that the beast will require of all humanity in order to be able to buy and sell, this mark will be a pledge of allegiance to the beast (and by proxy, to the devil – Revelation 13:16). The “mark” consists of “the name of the beast” (Revelation 13:17). When you wear someone’s name on you, you are pledging allegiance to that team or individual. When you tattoo or take a permanent mark on your body, (as implied here) you are making a statement of permanent allegiance; life allegiance. This is why taking the mark of the beast is an eternally damning act; it is worship in the form of a life pledge of allegiance to the beast; the devil incarnate (Revelation 14:9-11).
The Christian is marked by or sealed by the Holy Spirit within us (e.g. 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). That this is a “holy” sealing by the Holy Spirit is confirmed elsewhere in scripture. The Christian has the seal of “The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’” (2 Timothy 2:19).
These therefore, are those who, in refusing to take the mark of the beast, and who have refused to worship him, are those “who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark, and over the number of his name” (Revelation 15:2). How about you, are you pledging allegiance to someone other than Jesus? Are you worshipping someone or something other than Jesus now? I’m not necessarily talking about merely wearing a team insignia or brand. I’m talking about supplanting your worship of Jesus with something other than Jesus. Your “God” is your master passion. Is Jesus your master passion? Is He your all-in-all? Is He your supreme and prime focus of life? Do you live for Him? Do your resource, time and monetary investments support your claim?
Fifth, those who will reign with Jesus are those who were obedient and, “had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands” (20:4f). These were obedient to the instruction of the Lord. They were obedient to the point of death. These are the actual examples of those, “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11). Those who follow Jesus today read His words about denying self, picking up their cross and following Him and easily accept such a mandate. But when we do that, do we really consider the cost? Jesus spoke of the foolishness of not counting the cost of following Him (Luke 14:28-33). Jesus was “obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). If we are to be conformed to His likeness (Romans 8:29), then if called upon to do so, we too should be willing to lay our life down for the Lord.
Sixth, those who will reign with Jesus are those of who endure, of who it was said, “And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (20:4g). This speaks of the depth of the commitment and loving relationship these have with Jesus. It says they reign with Jesus for the full thousand years. They do not quite a quarter, a half, or three quarters of the way through the Millennium. They serve Jesus for the full allotted time of the kingdom on earth.
This speaks of their enduring commitment to Jesus. It speaks of consistency. It is in the trials and tribulation of this life that such constancy is learned. Jesus said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mark 13:13; cf. also Matthew 24:13). Paul’s testimony was that he was willing to “endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12).
A “faithful saying” of the New Testament in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 states:
11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
Endurance is a characteristic of those who reign with Jesus. The Bible speaks of a time when those in the church will not “endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). This will lead to persecution of those who stick to God’s word. We are instructed in light of this, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). God’s promise is, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure” (James 5:11). One of the greatest blessings of endurance is to reign with Jesus.
Seventh, those who will reign with Jesus are secure and at peace “blessed” (20:6a). The idea of the word “blessed” (Greek markarios) is to be happy, fortunate, blessed, secure from life’s hardships. Those who reign with Jesus are secure in Him. They are blessed to be a part of the first resurrection, the resurrection fo the righteous. They have been born again by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and are blessed because of it.
The Gospel provides a place where we can have “peace with God” (Romans 5:1). By God’s grace through faith in Jesus, we can pass from being God’s enemy and at war with Him, to being on God’s side and at peace with Him. But there is more for the justified believer. We can be at peace with God but still experience anxieties over the things of this world. The solution for anxieties is the “peace of God.”
The “peace of God” comes through prayer (Philippians 4:6-7) and right thinking (Philippians 4:8-9). We need to allow the “peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). That is what those who reign with Jesus do. Through prayer and command of our thoughts in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live securely and peacefully in this chaotic calamitous fallen world. That is what reigning with Jesus is all about.
No matter if they are called upon to give their life for Jesus, they are blessed. They are blessed no matter what. Are you blessed no matter what? Are you so surrendered to Jesus that no matter what happens in your life, you are blessed? This is how those who reign with Jesus are.
Eighth, those who will reign with Jesus are distinct by their love “holy” (20:6b). These are not Christian couch potatoes. Those who reign with Jesus are those who take their faith seriously. They are “holy” (Greek hagios). They are distinctive, set apart for God’s use and purposes. They are pure, morally pure. To be holy is best defined in terms of love. To live a holy life is to love God supremely and love those around you sacrificially (e.g. Matthew 22:37-40; Mark 12:29-31). To live a holy life is to live a life that is head over heels in love with Jesus and that love overflows you to spread to others. Jesus said His disciples would be known by their love (John 13:35). Love is the true indication of spiritual maturity and holiness (e.g. 1 John 3-4). Those who reign with Jesus are distinct because of their love.
Ninth, those who will reign with Jesus are born again, a “part of the first resurrection” (20:6c). Those who reign with Christ will be those of the first resurrection. This does not include anyone who has rejected Christ and are awaiting the second resurrection. Someone has said, born once – die twice, born twice – die once. Those and only those who have been born again (born twice) through faith in Jesus will reign with Him. Those who are only born once (physically born) but not born again, will be risen at the second resurrection which is a resurrection to judgment.
Tenth, those who will reign with Jesus are spiritually mature “priests of God and of Christ” (20:6d). “Over such the second death has no power.” When you have been born again you need not fear death and you need not fear the “second death” which is the sentence for those who die in their sins; a sentence of eternity in the Lake of Fire. When you are born again through faith in Jesus you have a steadying assurance that you belong to Jesus. The love He puts in you (e.g. Romans 5:5) assures you that you need not fear His judgment because you have been made righteous in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 4:17-19).
To be a priest (Greek hiereus) is to be one devoted to Jesus. Priests serve as mediators in that they go to God on behalf of others and go to others on behalf of God. Jesus is our High Priest (e.g. Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15). We do not need to go to a human intermediary to get to God. We can go directly to God in Christ. Jesus is our Perfect High Priest. Those who reign with Jesu are priests in the sense of being totally dedicated to Jesus and ministering to others seeking Jesus.
Being a priest like this is associated with ones “over such the second death has no power.” They are confident and assured in their relationship with Jesus. They are spiritually settled and stable. They are spiritually mature ministers of Jesus.
Reigning with Jesus – A Biblical Theme
The idea of God’s people reigning with Him is a theme throughout the Bible. We see it in the following sample of verses:
- Daniel 7:27 – “Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’”
- 2 Timothy 2:12 – “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
- Revelation 5:9-10 – 9 And they sang a new song, saying: 1 “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,10 and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
How will Jesus determine the amount of responsibility each believer is given? The parable of the Talents gives us insight here:
- Matthew 25:14-30 – “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.15 “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.16 “Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.17 “And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.18 “But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.19 “After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’21 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’22 “He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.25 ‘And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.27 ‘So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.28 ‘Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.30 ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (cf. also Luke 19:12-26).
This parable tells us that we are in training now for what lays ahead for us in the Kingdom of God on earth during the millennium. Our role in the Kingdom of Jesus will be determined on the basis of how we are serving Him now. Chuck Smith states:
“Jesus’ parable points out that, when we enter with Him into the Kingdom Age, there will be varying degrees of responsibility given to us according to our faithfulness with what He is now entrusting to us. At that time, we will be apportioned an area of the world. If we’re diligent now with what God has placed in our hands and use it for Him, then we’ll have a place of greater responsibility in the Kingdom Age.”
The apostle Paul also referred to our reign with Jesus during the Kingdom Age when he wrote to the Corinthians and said:
- 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 – “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?”
This should give us a sense of purpose and meaning. Are we so concerned with our 401Ks and retirement funds, with our worldly careers and achievements, with the things of this world, that when we enter the Kingdom Age with Jesus, He will look at our record and assign us some obscure area to rule over? I don’t imagine any of His children will be disappointed while serving with Him. But don’t you want to hear King Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant”? Don’t you want Him to see that you lived your life as a love offering to Him and for his glory? Don’t you want to be well qualified to serve and reign with Him in His Kingdom? I do. I pray we all are. I pray we’re over qualified for whatever assignment He chooses for us.
Are you ready to reign with King Jesus? Is He your Lord now? Some may wonder, “What does that even mean?” Well, Jesus said, very clearly, to a very religious person, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). And then for emphasis and clarity He reiterated, “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). Jesus said this to a religious pharisee which tips us off that He was speaking fo something that transcended and went beyond mere religion. Jesus said to be ready for His kingdom required a person experience a “born again” or second birth experience. Just as we all experience a physical birth, we need to experience a spiritual birth. Our physical birth gave us physical life. This spiritual second birth gives us spiritual eternal life. And this eternal life is an essential ingredient and requirement to reign with Jesus.
Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The word “know” here is translated from the Greek term ginosko. The idea of this word “know” in the original language meant to become aware, perceive (as in “seeing is believing”), to understand, to be conscious of, to see something or someone as it/they truly are (not merely opinion or speculation).
When this word is used in the sense of knowing someone it means:
- To know someone personally
- To be personally acquainted with someone
- To trust someone
- To have a friendship with someone
- To have an intimate personal relationship with someone
It is possible to know personally the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ. In light of this the question arises, do you know Jesus?
The Good News is that we can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Entering into such a relationship is as simple as ABC: Admit/Ask, Believe/Receive, and Confess/Call.
First Admit your sins and ask God’s forgiveness for them. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). We all have sinned and fall short of what it takes to enter heaven (Romans 3). We need to admit this truth before God. Once we admit our sin before God, we need to ask God’s forgiveness for them. This implies turning from our sins to God (i.e. repentance). This is humbling but necessary. We come to Him on His terms not our terms. We come humbly before God who is Awesome and Holy.
Second, believe in Jesus and His atoning work. God is Just. He does not merely turn a blind eye to sin. Because He is Just, He deals justly with the offense of sin. Sin, as an offense, incurs a penalty. To be just, God must enforce the just penalty for sin before it can be forgiven. This is where Jesus atoning work on the cross comes in. We are justified, or rendered just-as-if-we’d-never-sinned by virtue of God’s gracious provision in Jesus appropriated to us when we put our faith in Him.
When we put our faith in Jesus, we are not merely declared “not guilty.” Someone who goes to court may be guilty, but if there’s not enough evidence to prove them so, they are pronounced “not guilty” and released. There certainly is enough evidence to convict every sinner of their offenses. But this makes what God does for us even more incredible. Jesus obliterates our sin on the cross. When Jesus dealt with sin on the cross, it was as though they were all cast into a sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19); He removes them from us to infinity (Psalm 103:12). With our sins removed, we are declared innocent! Innocence is not merely being let go because there is a lack of evidence to convict, it is declaring, you did not commit the crime! Through faith in Jesus, our innocence is established. To that you should shout “GLORY!”
This incredible provision is freely offered by God’s grace, but it wasn’t cheap. Such a provision cost Jesus His life. Jesus shed His blood on the cross to secure a just and holy means by which those who put their faith in Him might be declared innocent. This is why salvation fro sin can and does ONLY come through Jesus. To suggest an alternative is to minimize and therefore blasphemously offend God and His plan of the great atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Jesus and Jesus’ atoning work on the cross alone, (not our efforts or works), is the basis for God’s forgiveness of our sins. The wages or consequences of our sin is death. Jesus died on the cross in our place, paying our death penalty for us. God offers us salvation from our sins freely as a gift of His grace through faith in Jesus and His atoning death on the cross (Romans 6:23). We are saved from our sins because of His work not our work. His work, not ours, is the focus of our justification.
Faith in Jesus is what connects the effects of His work to our account. The capacity to make a decision and place faith in something is God’s image in us (Genesis 1:26). Such a capability is created into us by God, therefore, we can’t take any credit for it. To believe, trust, or put our faith in Jesus as Savior is not a “work,” it is God’s grace working in us (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Once we believe in Jesus and His atoning work, we receive by faith, forgiveness for our sins based on Jesus and His work. God has a just basis to forgive our sins because of Jesus justifying work on the cross on our behalf. Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross for us. Because He alone lived a sinless life, He alone is the only One qualified to do that. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This is why there is no other way to eternal life (John 14:6; Acts 4:1). No one but Jesus can resolve our sin problem and be a Door to heaven for us. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
Not only are we forgiven through faith in Jesus, but we are made righteous. Jesus took our sins on Himself on the cross and when we trust in Him and His work, He offers us His righteousness to be put to our account (cf. Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Righteousness implies the establishment of a right relationship with God in Christ. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
God did all of this for us in Christ because He loves us. God is Love with a capitol “L” (e.g. John 3:16; 1 John 4:8 and 16). All of this is an incredible demonstration of God’s incredible holy love. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Lastly, Confess and call. We confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But we also confess Jesus to those around us; we tell others about Jesus; we call others to follow Jesus too. These are not a works that lead to salvation. This is a fruit or evidence that salvation has genuinely taken place in us. The Bible states, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). When you’ve genuinely experienced this incredible salvation that comes through Jesus, its something you just have to tell others about. The change in your life because of Jesus will likely draw inquiries from others about what’s new in you. And then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can tell them about Jesus.
When you’re born again through faith in Jesus, you can begin to reign with Jesus as your King of kings and Lord of lords. You can begin to reign with Jesus right now. But now, is only a preparation for later. Later, when we return with Jesus, we will reign with Him in His Kingdom. That’s something you really want to be ready for. Are you reigning with Jesus? Are you ready to reign with Jesus?