There are good reasons to believe we are more than simple material beings. If we are living souls (as described in Christian Scripture), there’s no reason to think our true immaterial nature will be limited by the fate of our physical bodies. Our expectations of justice, satisfaction and joy (given God’s holy and perfect nature) provide us with good reasons to expect a life beyond this one. If God has infinite power, it’s reasonable to believe He has the power to eliminate imperfection. God’s perfection must certainly characterize the nature of Heaven, and the Bible describes how each of us, when united with God, will be transformed and made complete, in spite of our present earthly imperfections.
We Will Have Perfect Knowledge
Someday we are going to be in the presence of the one who understand everything. He’ll be available to answer questions. We won’t be frustrated and straining to understand and believe. We’ll be at peace with the truth:
1 Corinthians 13:9-12
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We Will Be in the Presence of Perfect Glory
Glory is a word used often in the Bible, but we sometime read right past it. Glory expresses perfect beauty, excellence and greatness. All of us appreciate beauty and excellence in our physical world because we are created in the image of God, who is not only the source of glory, but the ultimate example of glory:
“…and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
We Will Enjoy Perfect Rest
Why do we love to sleep in on our days off? Is it just because we are lazy? Or is it more because we become so weary of the struggles of life? Many of us love to work, achieve and be productive, but also understand life’s burdens can simply wear us out. God promises Heaven will be a place of rest. Not a place that lacks work, but a place where the burdens and struggles of life will be lifted. We won’t have to strain to be ‘good’, struggle to maintain Godly relationships or behaviors. Our character will be changed and our struggles will be lifted:
There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.
We Will Relish in Perfect Work
Sometimes when we hear “work”, we think “labor”; a difficult and toilsome burden we must accept to make a living and survive. At the same time, most of us participate in challenging activities requiring great exertion, yet fail to see these efforts as laborious. Our hobbies are often as physically or mentally demanding as our jobs, but they don’t seem like work to us. We love our recreational efforts, but sometimes hate our vocational labors. We find great significance and satisfaction in some efforts, less in others. God designed us to work in satisfying ways, and Heaven is the place where this will be perfected. Jesus often described Heaven with parables involving work and responsibility:
‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
We Will Participate in Perfect Worship
Have you ever had difficulty focusing on worship at church? Have you ever struggled to keep your mind and heart in the right place? Have you ever wondered why you should worship God in the first place? Well none of that will be a problem in Heaven, where the mere presence of God will provoke a response of worship:
And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
We Will Share in Perfect Fellowship
Most of us, when given the chance, love to hang out with friends. That’s because we were created in the image of the triune God who (by His very nature) is in relationship with the other persons of the Godhead at all times. Our God is innately and characteristically relational. That’s why we are driven toward relationships. And heaven is the place where this aspect of our nature will be fully realized:
Hebrews 12:22 -24
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
We Will Receive Perfect Recognition
Finally, Heaven is a place where each of us will be recognized and rewarded by God. Ever notice how driven we are here on earth for the recognition and praise of our peers? Heaven is the place where our intrinsic desire is finally satisfied. Everyone will be completely satisfied with the recognition and reward they will receive from the King:
“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’ ‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’ The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’ His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
Heaven is the place where all of our basic instincts and drives will finally make sense. We are driven toward knowledge, we long for beauty and excellence, we desire rest and peace, we find ourselves worshipping something in our temporal environment, we seek satisfying and significant work, we desire the intimacy of close relationships, and we strive for recognition and praise. Why are we wired to seek the things we find so elusive in this life? The answer is simple: We are designed in the image of God, but are not yet in the presence of God. We are not yet complete. Passing through this imperfect world, we are on our way to perfection; to the place where all our desires and instincts will finally make sense and be satisfied.
For more information about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these strategies to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for kids.
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