So, here we go again. We talked yesterday about how we – as Evangelicals (or modern Western Christians) – have got it a little wrong about Heaven, or really about the end as a whole.
We have conditioned people to believe that heaven is what happens when we die, and that is our ultimate hope. This is why I believe, that we don’t hear much about the Resurrection because it doesn’t seem to be a necessary part of the story, because it doesn’t change anything.
So what we need to do is tell ourselves some truths about what actually happens to us when we die. And, on top of that, what is the true hope of Christ. We get our sins forgiven because of Good Friday, but what are our sins forgiven for? What is the point? People still die, and so we must go somewhere, right?
That somewhere must be heaven, right?
This is where the Resurrection comes in. The Resurrection is the pointer to what we ourselves can hope for. Not to be a disembodied spirit floating on clouds for eternity, but rather to be raised up to a new physical life in a new physical creation.
Therefore, the things that you shouldn’t hear about heaven, what they don’t tell you, are as follows:
1. Heaven is not the Hope
As I said, this is not what we are hoping for. It is a pretty poor existence that we get out of the deal if all we get is half of how we lived here on earth. We have felt the cool ocean spray, the warmth of the sun, the chill of hail, snow, ice, the fresh breeze touch our cheek, the taste of fresh fruit, the joys of embracing someone. If we are robbed of all of this, for some emotionless, dull existence where we can’t feel anything, then that is a letdown.
The good news is that our ultimate hope is a New Creation. A new physical world that is superior to this one in every way, a world where only the best has survived, where there is no death, no pain, no tears. A world of perfection. A world that we get to enjoy with our new bodies that are like superhuman bodies.
2. Heaven is Not For ’Good People’
Another thing that seems to go around these days, and I can’t for the life of me figure out where it has come from, is this idea that all people are basically good, and all you have to do to inherit this heaven is to live out that goodness.
This is not what the Bible teaches us. It is very clear that the perspective of the Bible is that we are beautiful creatures created in the image of God, to reflect that back to Him, and bring Him glory, and to enjoy relating to Him forever. We are, however, fallen from this original state, and we are separated from God. There is nothing that we ourselves can do to repair this relationship, it must be done by God Himself.
This is what Good Friday is about. But also, what the Resurrection is all about too.
3. Heaven is Not Just talking
If we are talking about ‘Heaven’ as this New Creation – if that’s the meaning that we’ve given it, and I think that is a fair call looking at the story of Scripture – then we have to say that it is not so much about sitting around doing nothing as it is about having an everlasting adventure, where we get to explore life with an infinite God for an infinite amount of time.
To me, coming back to life – real life, true life, full life. Life without sickness or disease, life without tiredness, life without aches and pains, without coughs and colds, without the fear of death, joyous life that continues forever – that is great news!
I would much rather that than heaven any day!
That is where my hope is placed.
How about you?