Colossians 3:1-4 tells us that as believers, in a sense, we’re already in Heaven with Christ: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (emphasis added).
Our intimate link with Christ in His redemptive work makes us inseparable from Him, even now. As we walk with Him and commune with Him in this world, we experience a faint foretaste of Heaven’s delights and wonders.
Though it’s true that Christ is with us and within us while we’re on Earth, it also works in the other direction—we’re united with Christ, so much so that we are seated with Him in Heaven: “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
Notice that the following description, written to believers alive on Earth, is in the present perfect (not future) tense, which expresses a completed action: “You have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23).
In a metaphysical sense, we’ve already entered Heaven’s community. By seeing ourselves as part of the heavenly society, we can learn to rejoice now in what Heaven’s residents rejoice in. They rejoice in God, His glory, His grace, and His beauty. They rejoice in repentant sinners, the saints’ faithfulness and Christlikeness, and the beauty of God’s creation. They rejoice in the ultimate triumph of God’s Kingdom and the coming judgment of sin.
Heaven, then, isn’t only our future home. It’s our home already, waiting over the next hill. If we really grasp this truth, it will have a profound effect on our holiness. A man who sees himself seated with Christ in Heaven, in the very presence of a God to whom the angels cry out, “Holy, holy, holy,” won’t spend his evenings viewing Internet pornography.
No wonder the devil is so intent on keeping us from grasping our standing in Christ—for if we see ourselves in Heaven with Christ, we’ll be drawn to worship and serve Him here and now, creating ripples in Heaven’s waters that will extend outward for all eternity.
For more on the eternal life that awaits us, see Randy’s book Heaven. You can also browse additional resources on Heaven.
Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.