Living in the Certainty of Eternity [Part 2]
Are you ready for some good news?
When you’re in Christ, death is an entryway to a glorified continuation of this life and this world. Death is not annihilation. It is a restoration and continuation.
Today’s text: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21, ESV)
As we come to the end of our series, “Meet Your Maker,” today, we conclude with a message of profound assurance of eternal glory for the believer. Paul speaks of the promise of heaven for the Christian as “gain”. Scripture envisions heaven as a rich reward for the believer.
Such promises point to an important reality for every believer. Heaven is not a “starting over” – it is a continuation. Your selfsame body will be resurrected. God will not scrap you or the earth. He will restore you and glorify you. He will restore the earth and glorify the earth.
Such a thought is joyous news because it means that heaven isn’t a return to Eden – it is better than that. Heaven is compared to a great city in the scripture. All people who have been born and redeemed are there. And those people are the same people that they were on earth, but glorified.
To say that the redeemed in heaven are the same people that they were on earth is to affirm continuity. In other words, if a friend were to see me in heaven one day, how would he recognize me? Though, surely, our words and imaginations are constrained by thoughts of heaven, we must assert that we will recognize one another in heaven because of perceived continuity.
In other words, if you were to recognize me in heaven, it’s because something about me “looks” the same. There will be something about my soul that is recognizable. I imagine that I’ll still love golf and the beach and a good book.
Your imperfections will be gone and your potential maximized infinitely, but it’ll still be you when you get to heaven! Such a thought goes far to explain how your good works can follow after you. Who you are here continues there!
It’s profoundly comforting to me to contemplate the principle of continuity from earth to heaven because it not only assures me that I won’t be annihilated; it also assures me that I won’t run out of time in developing my character. I know there’s a bit of speculation in this, but I think heaven will give me more “time” to work on my golf game and to improve my preaching.
If you’re an artist, I think you’ll keep painting. If you’re an astronomer, I think you’ll get to visit planets and stars. If you’re a writer, you’ll have much more to say. Everything that is good here continues in heaven – but much better. And that’s the Gospel!
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