“Thinking about Heaven”Categories: edification, heaven, hope
Do we believe that heaven will be worth the trouble and tears, the sorrows and struggles, the toiling and pain? Do we believe we will enjoy it better than this life? Are we looking forward to what God has prepared for us?
Perhaps our good days present the greatest threat to our faith: the days we feel excellent and energized, like we are masters of our own destinies. Our good days can make us lose focus on spiritual reality. As a young man before marriage, I really hoped Jesus didn’t return right then because there was so much I wanted to do and experience in this life. Do you feel that way sometimes? Is this life so captivating and pleasurable that you don’t want it to end?
The more trouble we experience, the greater a Christian’s hope becomes in a life beyond this one. In a sense, then, pain and trials are gifts of God which increase our character and our faith. “We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom. 5.3–4). Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Another danger to our faith is our fuzzy expectation for what lies beyond the veil. What will we experience when we cross the Jordan, when we sleep the sleep, when we descend into Sheol? What does our resurrection promise? Where is our hope?
What is your picture of heaven? Do you fully expect it to be awesome?
Dear Christian, in Christ Jesus you have eternal life! “And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2.25). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16). “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6.54).
This is the HOPE of every Christian. “…having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Tit. 3.7). This kind of hope is an expectant certainty of gaining the promise of God. This is not the “I hope I win a million dollars in the lottery” kind of hope. It’s the “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness” kind of hope. We hope by faith in the sure word of the Lord.
God wants you to KNOW you have eternal life:
And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5.11–13)
God create this life for us, and there are so many wonderful, beautiful, thrilling aspects to it. And this is the world under the curse of sin! How much more wonderful, beautiful, and thrilling will eternal life be, in which there is no sorrow, pain, or tears? A contemporary song explores the idea of what it will be like:
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for You Jesus
Or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence
Or to my knees, will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine… (by MercyMe)
I think we should imagine. It’s going to be real for us in the not-too-distant future. It’s already real for those who have gone on before us. I have loved ones who have crossed the Jordan already; I’m sure you do, too.
God tells us He will one day destroy this current world with fire and create a New Heaven and a New Earth (2 Pet. 3.10–13; Rev. 3.12; 21.1, 10). I don’t know how He will do that or what it will look like, exactly, but the promise of a New Heaven and a New Earth does not sound like floating around on clouds strumming harps for eternity. No, I am looking forward to a robust economy with fulfilling work to do, amazing food to eat, and glorious fellowship.
Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21.5)
We are told we will have a body like Jesus’ new body (1 Cor. 15.49; Phil. 3.20–21). There won’t be any marriage, but we will be like the angels of God (Matt. 22.30). We will have real bodies, and we will recognize and know one another. And we will be with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit forever! God once walked with Adam and Eve in the garden; He will do that once again with us. I’m looking forward to a new city with a river running through it. The Tree of Life will be bearing fruit constantly on the banks of that river (Rev. 22.1–2).
And we shall reign with Christ forever and ever (Rev. 22.5; 2 Tim. 2.12).