DEVOTION – HEAVEN
The promise of life in glory, forever in heaven, is the Christian’s most cherished hope. We would like to know more, of course, about the wonderful place which will be our home for all eternity. Many of our questions can only be answered when we arrive, but here are some answers God has provided us now.
Can I know, for sure, that I’m going?
Most people hesitate to answer “yes, definitely” to this question, because of the sins which we commit daily. But when our trust is in Jesus’ work—His life, death, and resurrection—then His promise will certainly hold true, “Because I live, you will live also.” (John 14:19) Apart from Christ there is no hope, but WITH Him there is no doubt!
Will I be some kind of angel or spirit?
No. The Bible is very clear that what happened to Jesus is the same thing that will happen to us. He rose with His physical body (Luke 24:39), and the Bible says that we, too, will have glorified bodies in heaven: “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11) See also Job 19:25-28 and Philippians 3:20-21.
Are we going there, or
is it coming to us?
The answer is “yes” and “yes.” We correctly say that when a believer dies, he or she “goes to heaven.” This is what Paul expected according to Philippians 1:23. It is also what Jesus promised the thief on the cross in Luke 23:43, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” The Bible also tells us that, at the end of the world, the present heaven and earth will pass away (2 Peter 3:10). God will then create new heavens and a new earth, which He will bring to us (Isaiah 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1-2). Exactly how all these things take place will remain a mystery until we experience it firsthand.
What will be there for us to DO?
The answer is “plenty!” The stereotype of heaven as a place of idleness, sitting on soft clouds, is all wrong. The praise and worship of our gracious God will, of course, be a major and blessed activity. That there will also be important and enjoyable work for us to do in heaven is shown clearly in the parable of the talents, in which the master says “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.” (Matthew 25)
Will there be any chance of falling away once we’re in heaven?
No, none at all. Every promise that the Lord makes to us that heaven will be eternal and incorruptible is a promise
that He will certainly keep! (see Luke 20:35-36,
1 Thessalonians 4:17, Hebrews 9:15).
Where can I find out more?
A good concordance or topical Bible can point you to other verses of Scripture that reveal some fascinating visions of heaven and certain details about it. Beware, though, of modern authors who try to take advantage of people’s curiosity by claiming to have extra-biblical knowledge about heaven. The only reliable information that we have about it comes from the Word of God. While we’d like to know more, we have the promise that every question will someday be answered in full . . . when we get there! “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:12)
Bruce Naumann is associate pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.