This post is one in a series of posts on a Bible study I am doing titled Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Dave McCleskey. The focus of this study is to get a Biblical view of what heaven is really like.
There’s no way I can describe the relief that has slowly come upon me over the last few weeks. As I’ve stated before, most of my beliefs about Heaven caused me to fear going there, and before now I would say that my motivation for wanting to go to Heaven was more an aversion to going to hell than a desire to go to Heaven. But I’m learning lately that my God is a God who changes perspectives. He’s changing my perspective about Heaven, and I am very grateful for it.
Today’s study asked the question “what will we experience together?” I’m not sure that the lesson actually covered anything new, but it explained some thoughts on topics previously discussed that were refreshing and good to hear. Alcorn talked about the fact that we will be continuing our relationships in Heaven that we had on earth, and and we’ll get to meet all the saints who we have admired but never met face to face. We will eat with these people, talk together, tell stories, and build relationships with them for eternity. Any and every detail you ever wanted to know about any Bible story can be told by someone who was there and witnessed it or experienced it. We’ll have our own stories to tell, and as Alcorn puts it, “the memories and skills to tell them well.”
The idea of continuing relationships with people who we knew on this present earth automatically makes me think about how we will feel about the ones we knew who didn’t go to Heaven, but instead went to hell. As I stated in yesterday’s post, I’ve been asked if it was even possible to remember our loved ones in Heaven if there’s a conflict between remembering them if they’re in hell, and yet never experiencing sadness. Some people even say that we won’t know hell exists, because it would spoil our joy. Unfortunately, this idea that God will make us ignorant of hell is not scriptural. If anything, the Bible says that we will praise God for His justice. In Revelation 18:20, after describing the judgment on the “great city,” it says “Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you.” At that time all in Heaven will rejoice at God’s judgment, and it will likely be the same when we are Heaven and those who we loved on earth yet rejected Christ are in hell. Though, with our current perspective, we could never see ourselves being joyful in Heaven with the knowledge that someone we probably remember from earth is in hell, remember that when we’re in the present of God, our perspectives will change dramatically. Alcorn puts it this way:
We’ll embrace God’s holiness and justice. We’ll praise Him for his goodness and grace. God will be our source of joy. Hell’s small and distant shadow will not interfere with God’s greatness or our joy in Him.
If anything, the thought of our loved ones NOT being in Heaven with us should be enough motivation for us to share the gospel with them.
One last area that Alcorn talked about in today’s lesson that really touched me was how we will get the opportunity to make up for lost time in our relationships. The parent whose child died when they were young will get to re-unite with him and spend eternity getting to know him. The child who never knew her grandmother because she died before she was born will spend eternity getting to know her. I have been very blessed in that I don’t particularly feel that I have had many of my relationships cut short, but I do like the idea of others getting to regain those opportunities. And I know that my own family won’t be around forever. It’ll be good to see them again, and to experience the best God has for us for eternity with them.
Click HERE to see the next post in this series.