Many Christians have an inadequate view of the afterlife. Scripture doesn’t tell us everything about what it will be like, but some aspects are certain. We aren’t going to be playing harps or singing endlessly while floating around on clouds. We won’t just be sitting on celestial couches chatting with departed loved ones or well-known believers from the past.
Rather, we will be living the life Eden offered—we will be busy enjoying and caring for what God has made, side by side with the divine beings who remained loyal to him. Heaven and earth will no longer be separate places.
Knowing our destiny ought to mold our thinking in the here and now. As Paul said, “What no one ever saw or heard, what no one ever thought could happen, is the very thing God prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9 GNT). Knowing this spectacular, glorious outcome helps keep our present circumstances in perspective. After Paul wrote the words we just read, he said this in his second letter to the Corinthians:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction.… For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Cor. 1:3–9, emphasis added)
God can preserve us in life. But even in death, we will be raised to sit with Jesus on his throne (Rev. 3:21).
We either live with our destination in view, or we don’t. And our awareness of our destiny ought to alter our behavior. If you knew you’d someday be sharing an apartment or working in the same office as that person you criticize, belittle, and otherwise disdain, you’d invest a little more effort into being a peacemaker, an encourager, and perhaps even a friend to that person.
How is it that we treat fellow believers so poorly, then? How is it that we don’t put as much energy into moving the unbeliever toward Jesus as we do into engaging with him or her as an enemy? We either have eternity in view, or we don’t.
How much rule does Jesus need to share with you to keep you happy? The question might seem odd, since any such gift from Jesus would be wonderful. Why, then, do we vie with believers for status? Why do we bicker with each other for advantage, attention, and personal gain? Are we no better than the Corinthians, whom Paul had to remind of their destiny? We’re either content to rule and reign with him, or we’re not.
Christian, it’s time to live as though you know who you are and know the plans God has for you.