Looking Forward to Heaven

John 14:1-4 says,

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.‪You know the way to the place where I am going.’ (New International Version)

Galatians 3:29 says,

If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Looking Forward to Heaven

Christmas is the time of the year where we remember Christ’s birth. The birth of baby Jesus marks the initiation of God’s plan to redeem his people. We celebrate this time, because it marks the arrival of the Son of God who came specifically to save us from our sins and through his sacrificial death paved the way for us to be re-united with our creator (John 3:16-17).

Heaven is the name we give to that place where we will dwell with God for eternity, it is the end result we hope to achieve by coming to Christ and living our lives in dedication to his service (Philippians 1:21-23).

Understanding a bit more about this place called Heaven provides an inspiration and a motivation to live life more like Christ and to take the opportunity to do the godly thing when ungodly choices abound. So let’s look more closely at what Heaven is and how the concept of Heaven can motivate us and help us to be more effective in our Christian walk.

We already have significant connections to Heaven. This is primarily through the people we know who are already there, who are already enjoying the rewards the Father has set aside for them.

Knowing that our loved ones and good friends, people we admire and look up to are already in Heaven and that we will see them again when we are called home is a reminder of the great destiny we have in front of us. Specifically, this connection to loved ones affirms to us of the reality of Heaven, of the simple fact that there is life after death and there are priceless benefits in choosing life through Jesus Christ.

Heaven is our ultimate home and so we see that entering Heaven will be a homecoming for us, and a great and glorious homecoming at that (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). The home of our creator, it is a place he is preparing for all of us, a place tailored to own individual needs, interests and even to our own desires. Our maker knows the very depth of our being and has perfect knowledge of who we are and what fulfills us; he is putting that knowledge to use in the creation of a place that has a divinely crafted lodging for us as individuals (John 14:1-4). You see Heaven is both a place of joint celebration and communion, but also a place where every individual matters and where each individual is valued for who they are, for their own unique God given personality.

In Heaven there is no sin, it is untainted by the intervention of evil and because of that there will be no embarrassment or shame, and some of us need to start living that now. Some of us are putting off our interests our desires, because we are embarrassed or even ashamed. That’s not how God wants us to be and in Heaven we will see the perfection of relationships and there will be no need to put on a show for others or to avoid exploring our interests because of what others might think. Judgmental attitudes are left behind in Heaven.

The very notion of Heaven contains within it the substance of things hoped for, the fulfilling of the unconscious needs we have (Hebrews 11:1. King James Version). It does this primarily by providing a place where we can be rejoined to our creator, but it also does this by bringing us into perfect relationship with other people and God’s creation.

As we grow closer to God and our relationships with him deepen Heaven becomes more real, a greater possibility, it moves from a desire to a surety, from a dream to a reality. In this process our focus shifts and we begin to look towards the longer term, the future that exists beyond this world. This motivates us to look at what we do and try and ensure that we are doing things to build the kingdom of Heaven. It is important to realize though that just as our home in Heaven is being personalized for us, so also our efforts to build the kingdom of Heaven should be personalized according to our uniqueness. God gave us all unique talents and skills and those are the ones we need to use to further the kingdom of Heaven, not the ones belonging to someone else. God places no greater value on one skill over the other. Mary gave birth to Jesus, Joseph provided the safety of the family unit in a conservative ancient society and James, the brother of Jesus, guided the church after Jesus’s death and ascension to Heaven. Neither Mary, Joseph or James were more important that the other, but all were essential to building the kingdom and they all did it in their own way, using their own gifts and talents.

Seeing Heaven as our ultimate destination allows us to look outside of our troubles, to see beyond our current hardships and endure, to persevere, so we can follow the Apostle Paul’s example and run the race to receive the prize that is set before us (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 & Philippians 3:14, New International Version).

Heaven has been secured by the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross and it cannot be taken from us, the Devil and his minions will try to convince you otherwise, but remember that you are heirs according to the promise: Heaven is real, Heaven is near and Heaven is your home. What a glorious day it will be when we return to our creator, our savior, when we are reunited with our loved ones and enter our purpose built home that Jesus has prepared for us (Galatians 3:29).

References

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Crossway Bibles. (2011). English Standard Version. Retrieved from http://www.stepbible.org

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Goodrick, E. W., & Kohlenberger, J. R. (2012). The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Mounce, W. D. (1993). The analytical lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Mounce, W. D. (2009). The basics of biblical Greek grammar. (3rd ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Mounce, W. D. (1994). The morphology of biblical Greek. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Mounce, W. D., Smith, D. M., & Van Pelt, M. V. (Eds.). (2006). Mounce’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

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Thompson, F.C. (Ed.), (1988). The Thomson Chain-Reference Bible: Fifth Improved Edition. Indiana, USA: B. B. Kirkbride Bible Co., Inc.

Wallace, D. B. (1996). Greek grammar beyond the basics: An exegetical syntax of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Wegner, P. D. (1999). The journey from texts to translations: The origin and development of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: BridgePoint Books.

Zondervan. (2010, November 1). Updated NIV Bible Text. Retrieved from http://www.biblica.com

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