I asked someone, “what do you desire the most?”
They responded, “heaven”.
The remarkable thing about her answer was that she doesn’t believe in the afterlife.
I asked another person, “what do you desire most?”
They responded, “heaven”.
The unremarkable thing about his response is that he believes in the afterlife.
Upon deeper questioning these people had the same motive for wanting heaven – materialism.
Heaven is not fire insurance
Heaven is not a place for people who fear hell, but a place for people who love & are loved by God. The first woman that I asked feared hell, but at the same time did not believe that anyone could definitively prove that the afterlife even exists. Quite a contradiction.
Before I knew the gospel I would have told her, “what do you have to lose in believing in Heaven besides living a good moral life free from the repercussions of sin?” (#fail)
Now that I’m learning the gospel I told her, “Eat drink, for tomorrow we die.”
If heaven is not a reality then why care? Why sit in school learning some stuff you could care less about? Why sacrifice your goods to help feed a homeless person? Why not go out & gratify your fleshly desires?
The gospel of Christ is that you get the desires of your heart now & after you die. The tragedy of that truth is that apart from being born again you have a desire for everything that is not God. The desires of man are to fulfill this God-shaped void with everything but God. No one seeks God, no not one (Rom 3:9-18).
Christ kidnaps our hearts and transforms our affections toward him. One of the greatest blessings from God is to be allowed to worship Him. If we are not worshiping God we are worshiping something (Rom 1:25). On the cross Jesus replaced our hearts with his perfect heart.
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” -Genesis 6:5
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” -Jeremiah 17:9
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” -Ezekiel 11:19
So now the desire of your heart is Jesus. You will get Jesus now & after you die.
How do I know there is more to life than this earth? Because Jesus rose from the dead & told me so, & if it were not true he would not have told me (John 14:2).
Heaven apart from Jesus is hell
The other person I spoke to wanted the pearly gates & golden roads. Heaven basically became about material & being rich. Heaven was merely fire insurance & his moral living was a response to the idea of earning heaven.
It saddened me for a moment, but because I’m learning the gospel I knew how to respond.
I told him, “Heaven without Jesus is hell“.
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” - Revelation 21:23
Heaven without Jesus is a dark barren place with beautiful sights but no way to see them.
Desire Jesus & you will get him. Hell is simply the desire of your hearts, the unblemished wrath of God.
Jesus absorbed God’s wrath on the cross & is giving away his absolute peace with the Father as a free gift. Sadly there is no afterlife: There is only the here & now, but the here & now will last forever.
Forever apart from Christ is a long time.