Below is an expanded transcript of what I share in the video:
Charles Spurgeon wrote in his classic devotional Morning and Evening, “Christian, meditate much on Heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the steppingstone to a world of bliss. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight?”
This is what we need to do. In the spirit of C. S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon, we should anticipate the world to come. And if we are delighted by that anticipation—because we know the God who lives there; we know the Carpenter from Nazareth, who’s gone to prepare a place for us—it will radically change us and get hold of us. We will not view death the same. Not our death, or the death of a loved one.
It doesn’t mean we’ll look forward to death because death involves some level of suffering. And it doesn’t mean we’ll be glad that our loved one is gone, of course. But it does fundamentally change the game…big time!
In this excerpt from my novel Deception, Detective Ollie Chandler looks to his friends, Jake Woods and Clarence Abernathy, for a reason to anticipate Heaven:
“Why would anyone want to go to heaven? When my grandmother spoke about heaven, it was the last place I wanted to go. Who wants to be a ghost anyway? My idea of utopia was a place like earth, where you could have fun and ride bikes and play baseball and go deep into the forest and dive into lakes and eat good food.”
“Sounds to me like the New Earth,” Clarence chimed in from the backseat.
“Exactly,” Jake said. “The Bible says the heaven we’ll live in forever will be a New Earth, this same earth made new, without the bad stuff. God doesn’t give up on His original creation. He redeems it. And we’ll have these same bodies made better. The Bible teaches the exact opposite of what you’re saying—we won’t be ghosts. We’ll eat and drink and be active on a redeemed earth.”
“So you’ll still be Jake Woods?” I asked.
“Yeah—without the bad parts. We’ll be able to enjoy creation’s beauty and rule the world the way God intended us to. Baseball and riding bikes? Why not?”
“Wish I could believe that.”
“What’s stopping you?” Jake asked.
God evicted the devil from Heaven; now our enemy wants Heaven to sound boring to us, because that implies God is boring. He doesn't want us to be so excited about Heaven and the New Earth that we would want to share the Gospel with people so they too would anticipate living forever with God and His people.
And I also think our anticipation calls us to live at a greater level of purity, a greater level of service in this world. In 2 Peter 3, we’re told about the new heavens and the New Earth, in which righteousness dwells. Then Peter wrote, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” He proceeded all that with verse 11, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the new heavens and the New Earth.”
Peter links the promise of life together in the new universe with the call to be holy and pure and to live for Christ. God wants us to use this time He’s given us to serve Him with all our hearts. I pray that’s what God’s people would do.