If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. —1 Corinthians 15:19
Is there any news more wonderful than this: we are going to heaven! There is a sense in which the bottom line of the Christian faith is this: those who trust in Christ's death on the cross are going to heaven and not to hell. Martin Luther regarded John 3:16 as the "Bible in a nutshell." Those who believe in the Son will not perish, that is, will not go to hell. Those who believe in the Son will have everlasting life, that is, will go to heaven.
Too often the heart of the Christian message becomes clouded with what in fact are but secondary benefits of the gospel. For example, "We are so much better off here below." Or, "Our lives have changed. We are much happier than before. Even society is all the better when the gospel has made an impact." True. I know what people mean by that.
But the main reason Jesus died on the cross was to make it possible for us to go to heaven when we die. Believe it or not, Christianity is essentially about our death. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus came to reverse what Adam lost in the Garden of Eden. The gospel is essentially about this great reversal.
We will know a lot more about heaven five minutes after we've been there than all the speculation this side of heaven! We all have questions, such as: Will there be literal streets of gold? Will there be literal mansions in which we will live? How will we spend our time, that is, if time as we know it exists in some way? In a word: What will we be doing in heaven?
Whatever else is true, I am sure of this: among many other things, we will all spend a great deal of "time" in eternity thanking God for His goodness.
Excerpted from Just Say Thanks! (Charisma House, 2005).
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