This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. Romans 8:15-18 The Message
‘Heaven’ is one of those words that conjures up differing images to different people. It is a vague word most of the time, probably because we have only a small idea of what the place will be like. In fact, most people accept that heaven is real, and will cling to the idea that their loved ones who have passed away, all of them, are now there! Most religions have a heaven for their members to be gained after death, and that is good, because it is true and based on Scripture.
Having been to a number of funerals in my time, I have heard that everyone who dies, goes to heaven. I have never heard any minister or pastor say that the person being laid to rest is bound for hell. Now simple logic says to me that ‘if there is a heaven to be gained, then there must be a hell to shun’. Otherwise, what’s the use of having a heaven if we will all end up there anyway, no matter how we live our lives? I accept that we cannot be the final judge, because only God can do that, but we do get ourselves lulled into a false sense of security if we only ever link death to heaven without consequence. Truth demands that we treat both heaven and hell seriously.
You may ask what evidence we have for their being a heaven anyway. I attended a funeral yesterday, of a dear lady who lived a long and Godly life. We heard not just about the people who were touched by her witness, but of her faith during uncertain times, and in almost impossible situations, when she trusted while she did not understand. Her favourite verse was, “Be still and know that I am God”. This lady was stilled, and she did know her God in a personal way. Ask her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Ask her friends and neighbours. Ask those who knew her in any way, but most of all find out about those whom she led to a saving knowledge of her Saviour Jesus Christ. As I thought about the troubles we all carry, I am encouraged once again to be still and KNOW that He is God, and He is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. Maybe I don’t stop worrying and wondering, but I am learning, slowly, to be still in His presence.
I saw the clearest evidence of belief in heaven while talking to a family member who had just laid his Mum to rest. Among other comments I made the statement that she was ‘home now’ and a big knowing smile lit his face. There was no doubt, and the word heaven was not mentioned. For me, that makes all the difference, because for the child of God at the end of this life, Heaven IS Home. What better words to hear than: “Well done good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your Lord” Matthew 25:21
Finally, should the words recorded by the exiled Apostle John not make us want to invest in our future home now, while we have the time and opportunity? Why take a chance with our eternal future, when we have this promise: ..and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 NKJV