Heaven – Part 1 of 5: “’A Better Option than Hell’ – Is That All Heaven Is To You?”

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Have you ever noticed that the glorious subject of Heaven and its countless blessings, as depicted in Scripture, are rarely discussed among professing believers or even preached in their churches? And when mentioned, it is usually portrayed rather cheaply -- as just a “better place” for Christians to end up when they leave this wretched planet (you know, God will be there and all that…). 

Commonly, a sermon about the believers’ future is either laced through with righteously-indignant words about our need to quickly depart from this sin-soaked age by “the rapture” of the church, or it is a frantic message assuring us that the sky is falling and we are about to be captured by “the antichrist.” For these sermonizers and their devotees, it seems that Heaven is simply not an exciting place upon which to spend even a little bit of meditation. In fact, they find the topic of Heaven as interesting as the “boring” topics of disciplined Bible reading and intercessory prayer. Many are often found saying, “Although these are important things, spiritually speaking, let’s try to talk about something that’s really exciting.” So then, it’s fair to comment with confidence that the awesome subject of Heaven has fallen on hard times in this present age. J.I. Packer put his finger on at least part of the reason why this is so, when he said, “When persons suffering loss of memory cannot recall where their earthly home is, we pity them; but, Christians who forget that Heaven is their true home, and never think positively about Heaven at all, are much more to be pitied.” Maybe the real reason most Christians are not excited about going to Heaven is because they view it as just a better option than Hell. Thus, by holding to such a view, they are revealed as having a very shallow understanding and perception of eternal glory! Rightly then, Matthew Henry reminded us, “Our duty as Christians is always to keep Heaven in our eye and earth beneath our feet.” And necessarily, Martin Luther challenged us to “not give one moment of Heaven for all the joys and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.” Oh, may our Heavenly Father teach us in the weeks ahead to increase our love for, our thoughts about, and our meditation upon “Emmanuel’s land!” To assist you toward this blessed end, please begin by meditating upon: John 14:1-3; 17:24; 1 Corinthians 2:9; 1 John 5:13; and Revelation 22:1-5. I leave you with the following helpful words from the seraphic Archibald Alexander: “Heaven is a reality, not seen by the eyes of flesh, but made known by revelation and received by faith.” May tomorrow’s public worship be for you, a day emblematic of Heaven!

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