What Does it Mean to Bring Heaven to Earth?
Bringing heaven to earth literally begins with the gospel. God’s will is to give us his Spirit and transform us into His likeness, to become like Him and live with Him eternally. He desires to complete what He began in the Garden. He proved His passion for us through the incarnation of Jesus—God literally sent heaven to earth in the form of a baby.
This is the mystery of the incarnation. John writes, “The Word became made flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Since it is impossible for us to personally bring perfection into this world, the gospel of Christ gives mankind a chance to receive perfect forgiveness in a world that does not forgive. Our relationship with Jesus provides a framework for us to experience redemption over and over, because the love and mercy of God are unfailing and constant. By living the kingdom of heaven here, we experience a continual renewal of God’s forgiveness and acceptance.
In contrast, organized religion (during Jesus’ day and today) franchises faith and practice so consumers can easily accept and follow religious guidelines in order to live nice lives and feel good about themselves. Religion gives sinners a faulty path to holiness—if we just try hard enough, we can be good enough (at least by our own standards). Religion is not the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of heaven promotes counter-cultural thinking. It employs an understanding and acceptance of our own sinful natures and our own mortality. The kingdom of heaven requires repentance, forgiveness, humility, reconciliation, equality, and grace—all traits that are decidedly against human nature.
When we hide or excuse our sins, we hide Christ’s power from the world. We squelch the gospel. But when we confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our gateway to heaven, we receive God’s salvation, blessing, and power for living, even while we’re here on the earth.
As followers of Jesus, we have the opportunity to deliver the gospel—not through continual births of Jesus—but through the rebirths of human beings when they accept salvation through Christ. Everyone who believes in Jesus becomes a “little Christ,” the true meaning of the word “Christian.”
If we are followers of Christ, we carry the glory of God in our spirits. Christians have the potential and the power to be “little Christs” to everyone around them—to radiate Jesus’ love and power over the things of this world. To live for another world (heaven), the one for which we were designed.
If our goal is to become increasingly more like Jesus, then we will adopt the process of bringing heaven down to earth. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though he were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). We will be like Christ in a world that does not recognize him, except through us.