Tag Archives: Eternal life

How is Heaven Like the New Year?

There is an idea going about that we can’t know what Heaven is like and will never know until we get there. Randy Alcorn, in his book aptly titled, Heaven, says this thinking comes from misunderstanding a particular verse…

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”– 1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV)

Many have quoted this verse through the years to illustrate that we will not know anything about the eternal state until we die or Jesus returns. And, at first glance, it sure seems true. But in fact, this verse is ripped out of context. If you combine it with what comes after, you get a different picture:

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”–  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10 (ESV)

So, we can know, you see, by the Spirit of God, and one of the many things we learn in Revelation 21 and 22, two chapters devoted to a description of our future life, is that everything there will be new…

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5 (ESV)

There is something hopeful about newness, isn’t there? It’s one of the reasons we look with a smile on the New Year. “Last year had its problems,” we admit, “but in 2016, I’ll get life right.” We have this sense, don’t we, that we will be able to fix things with a do-over. Relationships will be better, health will be improved, goals will be reached, and all will be different if I can only start writing new numbers on my checks.

January 1 sometimes does lead to new things for people, but for most of us, hoping for new things with a turn of the calendar, we are left a bit disappointed.

But it won’t be that way on the first day of Heaven. Everything will be new on the day we step across the threshold into eternity. Disagreeable relationship issues will be a thing of the past, health concerns will be over, sadness over missed opportunities will be only laughed at. All will spread before us in glorious hopeful newness, and each day will hold the same hopeful happy possibility.

For behold…He will make all things…new!


For Thursday, New Year’s Eve! – Revelation 22!


Posted by on December 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The One Thing That is Really Worth Getting Excited About

It must have been a heady experience: Jesus appointed seventy-two men and told them to go ahead of him and preach the Kingdom, and when they came back from their journey, they had an incredible report:

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Luke 10:17 (ESV)

When this band of brothers went out in the name of Jesus, even the demons did exactly what they said. It must have felt like they were really making a difference, like they were doing something that really mattered. And so they came back feeling significant…powerful…used by God.

Personally, I’ve never cast out a demon, but like many others, I’ve had wonderful experiences serving the Lord and feeling used by Him. But Jesus puts all of this into perspective when he reminds the disciples what they should really get excited about:

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20 (ESV)

This is what matters, is it not? Heaven. Eternal life. Forever with Christ. Whatever is going on in our lives, good or bad, we need to occasionally slow down and think about the reality of this place…and of eternity in fullness of joy.

  • Did the girl just say yes to a first date? That’s nice, but Christ’s yes to you is far better.
  • Did you just get into the “right” college? Good for you, but you know that one day Christ has qualified you for someplace much, much greater.
  • Did you just get the job of your dreams? Congratulations, and keep dreaming, because you can’t imagine how wonderful this place is going to be.

Heaven seems so far away sometimes, ephemeral, more an illusion and a wish than actual reality. But heaven is as real as the chair you’re sitting on. And if you have trusted in Christ, you are going to spend eternity there…because your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

And that’s worth throwing a party for.


For tomorrow, July 15th: Luke 11

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Posted by on July 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Most Important Thing For You to Do…Right Now

What could be more important than taking a test to see if you are in the faith, to see if you are going to heaven? It is how Paul closes his final letter to the Corinthian church…

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)

Examine yourself. It’s an important command, and yet in the context, disturbingly vague. It sounds like a very important thing to do, but how exactly am I to do it? What exactly does Paul mean?

There are at least two tests that we can refer to in 2 Corinthians, and the first great test, in this chapter anyway, is whether you obey his Apostolic instruction. This is the context of chapter 13. And that’s fitting because the mark of a believer, Scripture says again and again, is obedience. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14) So Paul is exhorting in holiness as chapter 12 closes, and then note what the Apostle says in verse 7 of chapter 13: “But we pray to God that you may not do wrong…”) John the Apostle is also famous for this test of faith: “You may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.” 1 John 2:29 (ESV)

But this test has two problems. First, it is extremely subjective, and therefore probably the least reliable way to find assurance of salvation. In other words, one man has a seared conscience, and he is not the least bothered by a little white lie. Another man cannot sleep for telling a woman that he liked her hair when he really didn’t. So with this test, the first man thinks he is doing great. The second man, not so much.

The second problem with this test is that righteousness can arise from two different motivations, but only one of these motivations pleases God. You see, there are many people who want to do good in order to be accepted by God. This is called works-righteousness. Controlled by a desire for his love and acceptance, these people live exemplary lives, at least in one sense, and yet their motivation is to earn God’s love. Now, if this describes you, then you are likely failing the test. Here’s why: You are seeking to establish your own righteousness. Paul described the Jews as striving this way in Romans 10:

For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:3 (ESV)

If you are seeking to establish your own righteousness, then you’d better go the whole way and do it. But here’s the problem: no one can establish their own righteousness. We are all sinners. And that is a problem, because, like Paul told the Galatians who felt they needed to be circumcised in keeping with the law, “I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.” (Galatians 5:3 ESV) But we cannot keep the whole law. All of us have already failed.

But there is a right motivation. Paul said he was controlled not by the desire to be loved by God, but by the fact that he was already loved. God had already set His love on Paul and this moved him to live for Christ.

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV)

Yes, true believers have life change, because they are controlled by the love of Christ as revealed in the gospel. He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves.

And this leads us to the second test, which I will write about tomorrow…

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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


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