May 9, 2012 by Caroline
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
(Philippians 3:20-21 ESV)
I used to think heaven was a far-off, mysteriously cloudy place with a full orchestra on loop. I understood my “heavenly citizenship” to mean I had a ticket to get into some gloriously holy, underwhelming theme park where all the rides would be safe and all the fun would be clean.
Man, was I ever wrong.
No, I don’t believe that heaven is full of unholy and unsafe rollercoasters with unruly people. Rather, I realized that my knowledge of heaven was incomplete because I believed an incomplete description. It’s hard work to find out what the Bible says about heaven, true. But, it’s work that allows us to live like the Gospel is invaluable. What we think about heaven and eternity completely informs what we think about today, what we think about life, and what we think about the message of the Gospel.
When we share the Gospel like this, “Believe in Jesus because otherwise you’ll go to hell!” we are not doing justice to the message. If you were a sought-after artist, it would be like telling someone you would paint a masterpiece and then only covering a corner of the canvas with paint. Is it a part of what will be the bigger masterpiece? Yes. But would someone admire that little corner of the masterpiece as he would the whole? No. They would call it incomplete (actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the art community would seize the unfinished and project meaning anyway). I would call it incomplete.
And this is what I think we do with heaven. It’s that place somewhere that I’ll be someday because I believe that Jesus died for my sins, according to the Scriptures – because I believe that Jesus took on all the messes that ever were and ever will be and stood in the place of their consequence. But, why?
Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are brought into right relationship. This is what eternity is about. This is what heaven is about: right relationship that I do not deserve. And it’s not as mysterious as we’ve been content to think. A more robust view of heaven and eternity means a life blooming with gratitude and joy. When we have eyes to see God’s plans for heaven, we have a heart to reach out and pull others in to gaze at the wild beauty.
Randy Alcorn says, “If you lack a passion for heaven, I can almost guarantee it’s because you have a deficient and distorted theology of heaven (or you’re making choices that conflict with heaven’s agenda). An accurate and biblically energized view of heaven will bring a new spiritual passion to your life.”
Heaven is not an escape from this earth. It’s not where we will finally run where no evil can find us. Heaven is God’s idea of complete restoration – a peace between God and man and all of creation that hasn’t happened since the Garden of Eden. This gives perspective to our momentary troubles, but it also brings a passion to live absolutely abandoned for God’s purposes.
This song, “Heaven’s My Home” is another among the many that focus on a distant land, another home, a forever refuge. Featured in the film, “Secret Life of Bees,” this song captures some of the reasons why we hope for something beyond right now. The brokenness we see and feel in this world is unsettling. That little piece of eternity set in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is uncomfortable thinking this is all there is. But, I hope we are not content with simple descriptions of harps and clouds and mystery. I hope we dive into the Word and trust that the Lord knows best what eternity is made of… and that He might want us to know a thing or two.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy