Our Heavenly Existence
Thanks to cartoons and movies, many people have the wrong impression about heaven. They imagine gaining wings, donning white robes, strumming a harp, and flying around on clouds. But is that how we'll spend our time? No. Let's discover what Scripture says about a few of our activities in heaven.
We will praise and worship the Lord.
- Read Revelation 4:1-11. What surprises you about this heavenly scene?
Sometimes believers are guilty of having a worldly concept of worship—mainly that it is boring. But heavenly worship will be more exciting than we can imagine.
When you have a chance to worship the Lord, give Him your full attention. Express your devotion and admiration to Him. You'll most likely get a taste of how wonderful praise will be in eternity.
- Consider how you worship. Which do you resemble more, a participant or a spectator?
- Write a prayer, asking the Lord to let you experience more joy in worshipping Him.
We will glorify God.
Is this just another way to say that believers will praise God in heaven? No. According to "Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology", "glorification" involves first the Christian's moral perfection, in which the believer is made holy and blameless. Second, the body is made glorious—immortal, imperishable, powerful, and spiritual. Third, glorification includes the Christian's participation in the kingdom of God, even to the point of reigning with Him. Finally, believers partake of the Lord's glory (2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Peter 5:10).
On earth, our ability to radiate the indwelling presence of God is limited by our sins and spiritual immaturity. In heaven, those obstacles will be removed. We will shine with all the radiance, beauty, glory, and majesty of the living God.
- Why will our inner character be like Christ (1 John 3:2)?
- How does Matthew 13:43 describe glorified believers?
We will never fully resemble Jesus this side of heaven. But we should be growing more and more Christ-like as we mature.
We will serve God.
Our Father made us to create, achieve, and serve. In eternity, we'll be engaged in God-ordained assignments. Before you picture yourself toiling away in misery, remember that work doesn't have to be tedious, frustrating, or boring.
In the Garden of Eden, God gave man a task (Gen. 2:15). Adam's job of cultivating the garden was pleasant. But when man sinned, a curse fell on the earth.
- What did the curse include, according to Genesis 3:17-19?
- What implication does this have regarding work?
- What does this verse reveal about the good deeds God calls us to do?
- How does this knowledge impact the way you think about serving Him each day?
- Describe the life of believers in eternity, according to Revelation 5:9-10.
- What two groups will believers judge (1 Cor. 6: 1-3)?
- Read Luke 19:16-17. How is the faithful servant rewarded in this passage?
- How does one earn the right to "govern" in eternity (Matt. 25:23)?
- What has the Lord called you to do with your life?
- Does it encourage you to know a reward awaits you for faithfully completing God's assignments? Why or why not?
In describing our eternal home, Revelation 22:3 says, "There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him."
The way we prepare for serving God in heaven is by serving Him now. Together with church attendance, giving, and prayer, service is an important expression of our devotion to the Lord.
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
If you are unsure about how God wants you to serve, pray about it. Each morning, ask Him to guide you into the good deeds He's prepared for you.
We will reign with God.
You already know that we won't be idle in heaven. Does it surprise you to know we will rule with the Lord?
It's not clear from Scripture what our reign will include. But the level of responsibility given to us will be proportional to how faithfully we serve while on earth.
Remember the parable about a master who entrusted money to three servants? The money symbolized a person's time, talents, and other possessions. According to how each servant invested the money, he was rewarded or punished (Luke 19:11-27).
Closing: Heaven will be far more exciting than we can imagine. In this brief study, we haven't been able to address everything God's Word says about it. So, as you read your Bible, particularly Revelation 4-5 and 21-22, watch for descriptions of our eternal home.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the amazing glimpses of heaven You gave us in Your Word. Help us remember this world is not our eternal home. We want to be faithful, obedient stewards, fulfilling Your calling on our lives. Amen.
We gain citizenship into heaven by being born into God’s family. Jesus clearly stated, “You must be born again” (John 3:3, 5). That means we believe He paid the sin debt of the world on our behalf. Dr. Stanley explains why the cross and the resurrection are the two foundational truths in all of Christianity. (Continue reading An Encouraging Reminder.)