How often do you hear someone who is grieving having lost a loved one be told, “Be happy, this is just a temporary good-bye. You will meet in heaven”? How often do you hear of people waiting to go to heaven to meet their loved ones who have passed on in life? Are you by any chance one of those who says this or one of those who is waiting likewise? Is this really right? Do these words reflect where we truly stand with God, where our priorities lie?
First of all, what does Scripture tell us what heaven is all about? Does it mention earthly life transposed into heaven? One thing for sure is that Jesus tells the Sadducees the following, when questioned about the woman who had been widowed marrying her husband’s brother with the pattern following seven times. “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:29-30). (It’s also important to note that we won’t become angels but we will be LIKE angels of God!). The very institution called marriage which was ordained by God here on earth, is not anymore in heaven. Biological familes spring out of marriage – which is the building block of ‘society’.
What will we be doing in Heaven? Isn’t it all about worshipping the Sovereign God? I really don’t see any verses in the Bible that point to anything but worshipping God – giving Him all the praise and glory and honour. Well, what greater joy that being in His presence without any worries or pain or sicknesses or tears? What is your reason for desiring to be in God’s presence in heaven? Could a desire for reunion with loved ones be considered ‘idolatry’ – for looking forward to going there for other purposes but to be in His presence? If we loved God with ALL our heart, would we long for anything else?
Also how sure can we be of someone’s salvation? A believer is one who is a member of the family of God, one who hears God’s Word and puts it into practice. How many of us actually spend time with God’s Word and lean on the Holy Spirit to inspire? How can we put it into practice if we ourselves don’t read and meditate on God’s Word? How many of us have read the Bible in its entirety or at least working towards it? If so, can we call ourselves a believer?
Someone asked Jesus, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” Jesus’s response (Luke 13:23-30) was an explicit caution:
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
Matthew records Jesus saying,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’. Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (8:21-23). Prior to this Jesus had cautioned about false prophets and that we can recognise them by their fruit. Just before that, He said,
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it“ (Matthew 17:13-14)
We have many choices in life. Yes, for those of walking in Christ have the mind of Christ. Yet we need to still beware that we do have the fleshly nature to a certain extent – and it will be the case till we leave this life on earth. Adam & Eve were created with perfection and they walked with God. Did they not make the wrong choices? God gives us free will. He does not FORCE His plans down our throats. On the contrary He allows the permissible will to take place just as He did with Adam & Eve. The permissible choices have their consequences with a doubt, and even if we choose them if we repent, He is a God of second chances and in His Sovereignity, He turns it around for good of those who seek Him. The narrow path is what Jesus urges us to take. We may be doing awesome ministries for the Lord and not having a relationship with Him. Don’t be fooled by the ministries – that’s all meaningless if we don’t have a relationship with Him… and having a relationship with Him doesn’t mean long prayers babbling away. Instead it entails hearing His voice and getting to know Him through careful study of His Word AND in prayer whereby prayer is a 2 way communication!
Please do not take it for granted that you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Meditate on these verses and work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Check your lives for idolatry – whereby idols are not only statues but also whatever takes the place of God. What do you have in your hearts ahead of God? Are you looking forward for heaven for the right reasons?