Imagining Heaven: Hold onto the good to attain Heaven

 

March 22, 2019



Many of the ideas and Scriptures used in this article are from the book “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn.

As we press on in our study of Heaven we should remember that Paul said that he desired to depart and be with Christ. That notion is foreign to many of us who say that we would miss our friends and family here on earth. However, if we really understood more of our future with Jesus we would be anxious to join Him after our time on earth concludes.

It may be hard for some of us to say that we desire to depart and be with Christ or to say that we prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Randy Alcorn states, “The climax of history will be the creation of new heavens and a new earth, a resurrected universe inhabited by resurrected people living with the resurrected Jesus.” I have often taught that in order to get a resurrection you first have to have a death. If Jesus tarries, the death rate in our community will remain at 100 percent. Some may live longer than others but all will die and eventually face judgment.


We should pray with the psalmist, “Let me know how fleeting is my life.” We need to remember that our lives are but a mist or a vapor.

Jonathan Edwards said, “It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven.” He resolved to obtain for himself as much happiness in the other world as he possibly could.

Revelation 13:6 tells us the beast “opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven.”

We need to remember that there is a spiritual battle going on in the heavenly realm right now. The devil is bitter against God, man, and heaven from which he was evicted.

As we picture heaven we may be able to imagine what our city would be like without sin, death, suffering, and corruption. Perhaps we should begin to set our hearts and minds on things above now.

Matthew 7:13-14 states, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

It may be surprising to us who is in heaven, who is not in heaven, and that God let us in. We should not hope that the good in our life outweighs the bad. We need to believe in Jesus and recognize that we are saved by grace through faith plus nothing.

There is a real heaven and a real hell. The eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels but all who have chosen not to believe in Jesus will suffer for eternity. The misery is something that I do not believe we can fully comprehend. The weeping and gnashing of teeth contrast greatly with the atmosphere of Heaven.


Worthless servants are thrown outside, into the darkness. The wicked will suffer terribly, be conscious, retain desires, memories, and reasoning. They will long for relief but not be comforted. They will not be able to escape their torment and will be without hope.

Those who believe in Jesus will experience God’s forgiveness as these people will have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Romans 6:23 explains the choice and the consequences of the biggest decision we face on this earth in stating, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

Acts 4:12 clarifies, “Salvation is found in no one else (but Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. If we want to prosper and find mercy we need to confess and renounce our sins. If we are thirsty we can take the free gift of the water of life.

The devil wants to deceive us. Matthew 7:21-23 states, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!’”


As we continue to study Heaven we need to remind ourselves that many will attempt to deceive us in our walk with Jesus. Let’s test everything against the Word and hold on to the good. Let’s remember that we are made for Jesus and Heaven.

May God bless you big.

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This is the second in a series of articles examining the Christian view of heaven by Kevin Barsotti, pastor of Ark Church in Havre.

 

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