There are two things in life that I am certain about (I bet you’re thinking death and taxes, right?).
Well you’re almost right.
I am certain that my taxes will come due next April, and I’m equally certain that someday I will die and enter into eternity, as will you. Where that will be, depends on two words…”whoever believes“.
The word death can be uncomfortable.
The word death can be scary.
The word death can be intimidating.
The word death can create fear.
However, death is one certainty in life that no one can deny or escape.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
For all of us, death will be more than just the termination of biological functions that sustain us. Death will be a gateway into the unknown, because last I checked, there were no reviews on TripAdvisor.
At the end of the movie: “Same Kind of Different as Me”, the homeless character Denver gives an eulogy, in which he says the following:
“Whether wez rich, or whether wez poor, or somewhere in between, wez all homeless just working our way back home.”
Just as Denver, I consider myself on a journey to that gateway – working my way home.
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Those who accept as a reality, eternal life with Christ after death, do so by faith.
The concept and reality of death can be much easier to confront if you look at it as not the end, but the beginning. The beginning of a resurrected life where the perishable becomes imperishable, and the mortal becomes immortal.
After my father’s death, I was comforted by these words from a song written many years ago by Don Wyrtzen called “Finally Home”:
“When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
O how lonely death can be;
At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light,
For death is swallowed up in victory!
But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!”
None of us truly have a complete understanding of what heaven will encompass. So we’re left wondering what our final destination will be like after we have breathed our last breath on this earth.
We are often left to their imagination of what heaven will be like, as in the lyrics of a recent song titled: “Dancing in the Sky“, which questions what it looks like in heaven for a loved-one who has just passed away. Although the song may not be entirely accurate from a theological perspective, it nevertheless leaves the listener in a state of wonderment and hope.
Heaven is the end game for Christians, the whole enchilada, the crème de la crème of Christianity, and a gift of God to whoever believes.
Jesus comforted His disciples by saying “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.”
The Apostle John gives us a glimpse into that “place” when he writes:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.”
So how do we come to this eternal place where we can dwell with God forever?
Let me answer the question by paraphrasing John 3:16:
For God so loved you and me, that He gave His only son, Jesus Christ to die on a cross, so that if you and I believe in His son, we will not perish from existence like some fruit that has rotted away, but instead have eternal life with Him.
Hope beyond the grave is given freely to “whoever believes“.