It is written that through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom of God. And so it is, that in this life you will have trouble, that in the process of getting from a to b, in getting from your faith entry into the kingdom to finally being literally in the kingdom, this will involve the trial of your faith, so that you will then emerge like gold from the furnace, IN the kingdom.
But Jesus said “seek you first the kingdom of God and His righteousness”, and He also said to the Pharisees that they themselves had not entered in and they had prevented others from entering in. So the faith journey is one where we are to consider ourselves to have already entered in, this is what the faith journey is all about, even though Paul said that he had not considered himself to have “attained” the final result and that he pressed on to obtain the prize, it is very much a matter of you containing the kingdom of God and that kingdom being built up in you NOW, because if not NOW, then NEVER.
Faith says we have been both buried and resurrected with Christ, even that we are now seated with Him in the heavenlies, from where we serve with Him as kings and priests NOW. So faith is a matter of assuming this victorious position WITH HIM by the power of His Spirit of resurrection, the Spirit of life. The trials and tribulations then seek to topple us from our place in the kingdom, they test us out and refine us as we continue in the faith. So in context we should not see “the kingdom” as something yet to come, because this is how many of the sects and cults view it, keeping it at arm’s length, because they are busily working away at trying to construct their own method of salvation instead of accepting Christ as having already saved them from the final fire, even if in the meantime we have to undergo the many “fires” of the testing of our heavenly position.
‘From now on I consider no man from a fleshly viewpoint’ says Paul, ‘even though we once considered Christ in this way we do so no longer’. For the Christian the kingdom has come*, but its final reward [the literal resurrection of the immortal body] is to be waited for patiently, while others stridently try to convince you that you are not kingdom material, and that “the kingdom” is a distant thing not be apprehended in THIS life. I tell you that if you do not enter it and apprehend it in THIS life, you will never do so. You must participate in “The First Resurrection” NOW, because Jesus IS that first resurrection, and you must in this life be lifted up with Him also lest you be ‘harmed by’ the “Second Death” which, along with salvation, will be at the occurrence of His Second Coming.
[*The faith journey is to live life in this world as a citizen of the next, and in and by that hope we are saved].