If I die on my own, I will get everything I deserve. God will be fair to me. But if I die with Jesus, I will never get what I deserve, because Jesus has already received it on my behalf, instead of me. That is the Easter message, the very good news of Christianity. But do we go to heaven when we die?
Ephesians 2:4-5 (and Colossians 3) says that because of Jesus we have been made alive, have been raised with Christ and have been seated with him in the heavenly realms. It seems I am already in heaven, in my spirit. This is why nothing can separate us from Christ. (Romans 8:35,38) Only the physical part of us can be affected. And our physical body won’t stay dead. There is a physical resurrection waiting for us, just like Jesus’s resurrection body was physical. He could be recognised and still had his wounds and he could be touched and ate fish! (Luke 24:37-43).
Revelation 6:9 talks of the spirits of those who were killed for belonging to Jesus being under the altar in heaven before their physical resurrection, calling out “How long Oh Lord?” It seems that the current heaven will be a place of waiting, not our final home.
Revelation 21:1 says that this heaven and earth are only temporary. There will be a new heaven and earth where we will live forever, with God himself. So we won’t need the sun or moon for light, and won’t need a temple to represent his presence.
I find it a bit tricky to put it all together. (And the Bible says much more!) But here are a few things we can be clear about…
Its better by far to die with Jesus than without.
We can be certain of our future with God, because from the moment we trusted Jesus, our life was hidden in heaven with him.
There is more to our life than our present troubles. (Romans 8:18, 2Cor4:17) Our future is to live as a physical human with God the Father and Jesus our hero in the new heaven and earth, where we will have an intimate and direct relationship with him, and have every good thing worth having poured over us in abundance.
I like the way Isaiah put our future in 55:12 “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace… (Joy and peace will be all we know from that time on.) “The mountains and hills will burst into song before you. All the trees of the field will clap their hands” (As we approach, the mountains will sing and the trees will applaud)
I don’t know everything about when I die, but I do know my future is wonderful, because of my wonderful rescuer.
Assistant Minister (11:30am)