Throughout Scripture there has always been a separation between God and mankind following the fall in Genesis three. Because a perfectly Holy God cannot tolerate sin in any form, the price-tag for Heaven is perfection. So for many years everyone tried to reach His standard, but all fell woefully short.
Which is what makes the words of Jesus for this thief so amazing.
Here is a man who clearly deserves punishment for his actions (Luke 23:40-41) but still asks Christ for mercy (23:42). Jesus in response tells him “TODAY you will be with me in paradise (emphasis added).”
Not when you have done good deeds
Not when you’ve made up your debt to society
Not when you’re declared clean by the religious leaders
With that statement, the gates of Heaven are swung wide open. Anyone who places their faith in Christ will be allowed in.
There are many things that could be said about Heaven…but let me just focus on two
Our Bodies Will be Restored (Philippians 3:20-21)
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
This passage is a wonderful reminder that there will be no more weakness in Heaven.
The word “vile” here can refer just to sin, but I believe it covers the larger subject of weakness. There is no question that the bodies we have on this earth are weak.
- We experience physical weakness through sickness, growing old (deteriorating) and death
- We experience spiritual weakness because even when we want to obey God, we don’t find the ability to do that in our own strength
- We experience emotional weakness through depression, discouragement, or self-doubt
There are many other ways we experience weakness, but you get the picture
Instead of this God promises to give us a “glorious body” that is described in 1 Corinthians 15:53
1Cor. 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are given some details about this glorious body in the passage
- It will be incorruptible: cannot deteriorate
- It will be undefiled: cannot sin
- It will immortal: eternally with God
Sadly every day we are reminded of our weak bodies (usually the moment we get out of bed) but those aches and groans become a prayer that Christ will soon return
But God will not just restore our bodies
Our Homes will be Restored (Genesis 3:17-19)
Gen. 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
If the restored body means no more weakness, a restored home means no more curse
It doesn’t take long to realize the world around us is cursed or broken
- Everything deteriorates or breaks down
- We constantly experience injustice and suffering
- Culture around us continually becoming worse instead of better
- And everything within it leads us away from God
The real curse is we constantly find problems in life that are outside of our control
Eventually living in a sin-cursed world like ours reminds us life wasn’t meant to be this way
thankfully, Revelation 21 tells us of a glorified new heaven and earth
- God Himself will live with us
- There will be no more sin
- There will be no consequences/marks of sin upon the earth
- There will be no more separation between us and God for eternity
The death of Christ by satisfying the Righteous demands of God places the key to Heaven in our hands…it is up to each one of us to decide whether we want to use it.