“In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:45 NLT)
Have you ever asked someone who isn’t a believer to describe what heaven will be like? How about someone you believe IS a believer? It’s amazing to me the things people say. They talk about “no sickness, no pain, no heartache, no regrets, no unmet needs, the fulfillment of all their hearts desires, being with loved ones and friends, no tears,” and on and on they go. Yes, of course, a lot of that is Biblical, but what’s missing in this picture?
How can heaven be described with no mention of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? If someone can think of heaven without acknowledging the Godhead, or especially Jesus, who is the only way to have access to heaven, it’s no wonder they never give Him a thought on earth. It’s not unusual for people to believe that their loved one who has died is in a better place, but the Bible is clear that when someone dies who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, it’s anything BUT a better place.
It’s understandable for someone who doesn’t know Jesus, especially those who are suffering in some way, to imagine heaven as anyplace but where they are, experiencing what they’re experiencing. To envision peace and calm, someplace safe from the cares of their world. To walk a mountain pathway or stroll through a beautiful forest, laden with colorful flowers, while listening to the songs of birds and the melody of a flowing stream, is to catch a glimpse perhaps of the serenity of heaven.
Heaven will be unimaginably beautiful, safe, and serene, more so than we can possibly envision, but all those wonderful things can’t begin to compare with the majesty and beauty of Jesus in all His brilliance and splendor. A “heaven” without Jesus is, in short, hell! To be separated on earth or in eternity from the presence of God is literally unimaginable to me.
Everything that matters to me in this life – my wife, kids, family, friends, the church, worship, singing and listening to songs that glorify and honor Jesus, prayer, thinking of Him endlessly, marveling at His goodness, kindness, mercy, and grace – to me, they’re all foretastes of being with Jesus in heaven. I can’t conceive of being anywhere that Jesus is not.
On a mission’s trip to Mexico, the compound where we stayed was at the base of a huge mountain range. Some of the other counselors and young men in our group thought it would be fun to climb up the mountain just to see what we could see. We started out one afternoon, but it took us almost an hour to get to the base, so we decided to start early the next morning.
We set a time we would have to be back and just decided to go as far as time allowed. The foliage was thick in some areas, which slowed us down, but after a few hours we came to an opening that allowed us to see for miles. We had come out above some clouds and the view was amazing. I remember thinking: “My Savior created all of this. He’s the Author of all this beauty. I wonder how much more breathtaking heaven will be?”
There is a German hymn, whose author is unknown, translated by Joseph Augustus Seiss that I remember singing. I remember it as “Beautiful Savior,” but it’s also known as “Fairest Lord Jesus.” The verses are: 1 Beautiful Savior, King of creation, Son of God and Son of Man! Truly I’d love Thee, truly I’d serve thee, Light of my soul, my Joy, my Crown. 2 Fair are the meadows, Fair are the woodlands, Robed in flow’rs of blooming spring; Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer; He makes our sorr’wing spirit sing. 3 Fair is the sunshine, Fair is the moonlight, Bright the sparkling stars on high. Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer Than all the angels in the sky. 4 Beautiful Savior, Lord of the nations, Son of God and Son of Man! Glory and honor, Praise, adoration, Now and forevermore be Thine!
Are you longing for a heaven without Jesus? It doesn’t exist!
Blessings, Ed 😊