Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Weird Things About Heaven

Just last week I was speaking with one of our church elders and we were discussing how little time we Christians spend thinking about Heaven. After all, that's where we're all headed right? That's the reward, isn't it? Didn't Paul say that our citizenship is in Heaven? (Yes, he said so in Phil. 3:20) Why don't we spend more time thinking and discussing and dreaming and awaiting Heaven?

One of the questions that always comes to my mind when I think about Heaven is this: what about sin and temptation? I know there won't be any sin in Heaven, that's given. But there's only two ways to eliminate sin - either 1.) it's unappealing and no longer a temptation, or 2.) it's appealing and just not sinful! Think of all the things that you are tempted with on a daily basis, they will all fall into one of those to categories. I'll explain why.

In Heaven, we will live in glorified, perfected, imperishable bodies - no longer attached to corruptible flesh. (1 Corinthians 15) So some of the things that are tempting to our corrupted flesh now, will just no longer be appealing. Certain sins just won't get our attention anymore. That's fantastic. I can't wait to be unburdened by facing and resisting endless temptations.

But there's another possibility. We have to go back to the garden of Eden to find it. In the center of the garden, God planted two trees: the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:9) God only said that they couldn't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:16-17) Evidently, the tree of life was fair game. In their sin, Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and then suddenly the tree of life was off limits. And the tree of life must certainly be appealing, otherwise God wouldn't have put supernatural flaming sword security on it 24/7. (Gen. 3:22-24 )

So, right now, if you were able to find the path to the tree of life, sneak past the angel guarding it, and eat its fruit you would be sinning. But, wait, the tree of life is still around in Heaven, too. John wrote in Revelation that Jesus says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." (22:14) In Heaven, we're going to eat from the tree of life! In our fallen state, the tree of life is off limits. But in a perfected state, it's fair game!

What else will become fair game when we get to Heaven? Heaven will absolutely blow your mind. I imagine that some of my first conversations with Jesus will go something like this, "So, Jesus, you're telling me that I can ___________ and you won't kick me out of Heaven?! You mean I can ____________ on the _____________ with ________________, and You will be glorified? You're alright with me moonwalking through _____________ and swan diving into the _____________ ?! I can put these _______________ into my pocket and then fling them at _________________ while hiding under the _________________ and Your name will be exalted by that?!"

Of course, I'm exaggerating. But the point is that you won't miss anything in Heaven. All of the empty pleasure of sin in this world will be eliminated in one of those two ways above. And the eternal, God-glorifying pleasures of Heaven will be vast beyond what we could ever imagine!

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