Lesson 9: Heaven
It’s a perfume, a song, a Bebe and Cece Winans album, a defunct Australian band and a night club in the UK. A slice of Boston Cream pie tastes like it, some guy named Peter is the gatekeeper of it, and most rappers will tell you their dead homies are shining down from it.
Yes, I’m talking about heaven – and everyone’s got their own ideas about what it is and how to get there.
So what do we actually know about this mystical place?
- Most people who will end up there probably had to die first – it’s a small price to pay, ultimately less than the price that Jesus paid to get us this sweet deal (John 3:16)
- With it we are promised eternal life free of sorrow or pain (Rev 21:4)
- Your spot isn’t guaranteed. Only by choosing Christ do we get to choose heaven (Acts 16:29-31)
- We get a feel of what that eternal life is like when we accept Christ (Luke 17:21)
- The alternate is the experience of hell. Despite what others might tell you, there is no in-between (Matt 25:31-32 & 41)
- We don’t really know what it will be like, but we do know it will be better than anything we can imagine
Heaven will be better than this life. This is probably why people who do not know much about Christ or who don’t even accept everything the Bible offers still hold to the idea of heaven – because we all know inherently that this life is flawed, and that there must be somewhere better beyond this world.
Nonetheless it is easy to forget this fact as we get caught up in our day to day lives. The things we can touch and see and feel right now easily seem more tangible than the reality that Christ has promised us.
Heaven became more tangible to me three years ago when a close friend died in a motorcycle accident. It came as a shock. He was only 24, and everyone knows that if you’re in your twenties you’re supposed to live forever. The thought of never seeing him again was unacceptable. My only comfort was 1 Thess. 4:16-18 which has now become one of my favourite passages:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
It is this promise of a life after this that keeps us going; a promise of a place with no sickness or death, or motorcycles. My friend sleeps now. He can’t see me or hear me. But because he chose Christ I have the hope that we will meet in Heaven one day. And it’s okay that I don’t know everything about what it will be like when I get there. For now, all I need to know is that it is where I want to be.