Heaven is….


As I was working out today, an interesting question popped into my head.  “Is heaven, heaven if God is not there?”  And it has stuck with me pretty much the whole day.  I’m thinking this is something that God wants me to mule over and answer.  So here it goes:

I guess to answer this question; I have to really be honest about what excites me about heaven.  The scriptures describe heaven as a place of perfection; no more sin, hate, pain, etc.  Also according to scripture we will have glorified bodies, which if they’re anything like the body Jesus had after he resurrected, than well be able to fly, pass through walls, and teleport.  Talk about superpowers heh?  So yeah, I guess all that is cool and exciting.  But one of the things that scripture mentions about heaven is that God is going to be there, and that His light will Illuminate Heaven so that heaven won’t need a sun or a moon.  Moreover, there won’t be any darkness…ever.  So if heaven’s light source is God, than it would stand to reason that if God was not there, heaven would really not be heaven.  However, I think this question is deeper than that.  I think what God (I believe its Him that’s popped this question into my head.) wants to know is, what exactly attracts me about heaven….actually more like, what really is heaven for me?

Like I said, I have been meditating on this question pretty much the whole day and I have come to the conclusion that heaven really is not heaven if God is not there, not because Heaven needs God for light, but because the whole draw/appeal of heaven is God himself.  Yeah, it’s cool that well have glorified bodies.  And it’s also cool that sin won’t be there (very cool indeed), or evil, or imperfections.  But honestly, the coolest thing of all is that God himself will be there.   That is what I have been longing for all this time; to see Him, to be with Him, to feel Him, hear Him, talk with Him as a man talks to a friend,  to joke around and yet be in awe of how awesome He is.  God is the source of my expectation of heaven.  Everything else is like icing on the cake.  And if Paul is correct (which I’m sure he is :)) then that icing is beyond anything I can ever imagine while here on earth.  But even so, if God was not there, I much rather be where God is. 

When I think about heaven (and I’m really not exaggerating here), I think about running to God and embracing Him.  Honestly, that’s the picture I have in my mind of heaven.  As cool as everything else is, I really could care less because what I really want is God.  I don’t say this to sound super spiritual or something like that. I say this because it’s really how I see heaven.  Honestly,  I can’t wait to see Him! (and before someone says something, I’m not suicidal lol).  Oh to hear Him say “well done thou good and faithful servent!”….to hear Him say anything!  Oh just to hear Him!!!  And I also picture us taking a stroll through the beaches of heaven.  Actually I don’t know if heaven has beaches, but if they do, you can bet I will ask God if He would be willing to take a stroll on the beach.  And we can talk about….oh about everything.  Ha! We’ll have all eternity and then some to talk about everything and then some.   And His throne.  Oh man, this part frightens me a bit.  I mean, I get chills reading the description of it in Revelation; so awesomely huge and in the midst of creatures full of eyes and several wings.  And the thunder and the lightning…..and Solomon thought he had a cool throne, lol.  But Im sure that as a new glorified being, I will be able to see it and not be terrified.  Oh man!  How cool is going to be to see God!  And of course, it’s going to be cool to see everyone else too.  But God….oh yeah, Heaven is Heaven only because of Him…..nothing more, nothing less.

 

Juan Castillo Jr.

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14 thoughts on “Heaven is….

  1. Juan Castillo Jr.,
          I admire your desire towards spiritual things.

    Allow me to add to your knowledge and pose a question:

    1. On one hand, the heaven(s)” apply to the full range of earth’s atmosphere in which dew and frost form, the birds fly,  winds blow, lightning flashes and the clouds float and drop their rain, snow, or hailstones.  In fact,  the sky is referred to as the heavens in the sense that is the apparent or visual dome or vault arching over the earth.  So, when speaking of the heavens in this case, we are referring to the atmosphere around the earth.  There is a lot of scriptural support for these facts.

    2. On the other hand, the physical heavens extend through earth’s atmosphere and beyond to the regions of outer space with their stellar bodies, sun, moon, stars, and constellations. The first verse of the Bible describes the creation of such heavens prior to the creation of the of earth for human.  So, in this case, we are referring to the atmosphere beyond the earth’s atmosphere.  Better known to us as outer space. There is a lot of scriptural support for these facts as well.

    Both are the physical heavens, that which we can see and try to understand.  Granted, in many cases, man needs a telescope to appreciate the expanse of the physical heavens. And  even with the most powerfully telescope, man is still limited in his view of outer space. 

    God made the universe. He did not make it for himself to reside since he existed prior to creating heaven an earth. From his lofty location, he looks down on the heavens, the earth included (Ps. 113:6). The spirit realm of the heavens, that where spirit creatures dwell (angles), was not created for mankind to see or understand.  That is why you see very little about the spirit realm in the bible.

    God created the earth for mankind (Ps.115:16 and Isa.45:18). And God states that the earth is not going anywhere.

    That being said, where does your concept of mankind being in the heavens with god come?

    • Hi Steve!

      First of all, thank you for your comment. I like it when someone makes me think :).

      You are correct Steve, there are several “heavens” if you will in scripture; Earth’s heaven, Cosmo’s heaven, and also spiritual heaven. These are all supported via scripture. However; if I may, I will address a few things concerning your comment and then I will answer your question (which I really do appreciate since it allowed me to look at what I believe).

      Psalm 113:6 states that God looks down on heaven from his position on high. There are a few things concerning this verse that needs to be pointed out. First, the verse does not state that God does not reside in heaven. It merely states that God looks down on it. The grandeur of God is so magnificent that it would not be an unthinkable notion that heaven itself could not fully contain God. This however, does not mean that He is not there.

      Moreover, the word used for heaven in this passage is the Hebrew word “Shameh” which can be translated to mean either heaven “the physical arch in which the clouds move”’ or heaven “where the celestial bodies revolve” (Strong’s concordance). Given the context of Psalm 113 by noting verse 4 it can be seen that David is speaking of the heaven where the clouds move; stating that God is so magnificent that His glory goes even above this heaven. Nevertheless, God is so magnificent that to state that His glory goes beyond the heaven where celestial bodies move, would not be an erroneous statement. As scriptures state “heaven is my throne and earth my footstool” (Isaiah 66:1)

      As to God creating the earth for mankind, you are completely right. He did create the earth for us, and due to the fall, we tarnished it. God however, does not say that the earth isn’t going anywhere. Im assuming that you are referring to Isaiah 45:18 where the scriptures state that God “….did not create it in vain.” I can see where it may seem that this verse refers to a futility of creation on God’s part. However, that is not the case. The word “vain” in this passage is the Hebrew word “tohuw” which refers to worthlessness but it also refers to “without form” or “nothing”. The same word (Tohuw) is used in Genesis 1:2 where it states “…and the earth was without form” and translates into the word “form”. Therefore, Isaiah does not state that the earth was not going to be removed but merely that God did no create it as worthless or void of form. That stands to reason since nothing that God does is worthless. Moreover, the fact that the earth was given to us (psalm 115) does not mean that it will not be renewed or changed. Remember, we were given many things before the fall. We had full communion with God, Innocence, full dominion of beasts and nature (Gen. 1-2) and we lost it all when we fell (Gen 3). The scriptures does state however that there will be a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22, II Peter 2:13)

      Ok, so where do I get the association of God and man in heaven?

      Let’s start out with God’s dwelling place. God is omnipotent and omnipresent, so He exists within time and out of time. To say that God is only contained in Heaven would be erroneous. However, scripture clearly states that God does make his dwelling place in Heaven. This can be seen in Matthew 18:10 where Jesus states that his Father (God the Father) dwells in heaven. Moreover, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus clearly states “our father which art in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9-13). Also, in 1 Kings 8:30 Solomon states the fact that God is in heaven and that it is from heaven that he hears the prayers of his people. We also find God’s throne in heaven (Rev. 4-6). These mentions are by no means exhaustive.

      As for us being with God, scriptures states in Psalm 23:6 that we shall be in the house of the Lord forever. In the gospels Jesus consistently states that we shall be with him and that He desires for us to be where He is. (John 14:2, John 17:24). And his place is with God at God’s right hand (Mark 16:9, Luke 22:69). Acts also makes it clear that Jesus is in Heaven (acts 1:2). In II Corinthians 5:8 and Philippians 1:21-23, Paul states that He is going to be with Lord. Moreover, in Philippians 3:20-21 it clearly states that the citizenship of those who believe is in Heaven which as has already been stated is the dwelling place of God.

      In Revelation God presents many descriptions of dwelling with his people. For example, in Rev. 5 we encounter the Elders…now, there is some debate as to whether the elders are people, saints, or angels. The apologetics of this topic could be a blog in it of itself lol, so I’ll just say that I believe that the Elders are redeemed people since they sing the redemption song and angels (since they are not redeemed) cannot sing this song in revelation. Nevertheless, in Rev. 6:9 there is no dispute that these are believers in the Lord who are found before the throne of God which resides in heaven. Continuing in Revelation, we find in chapter 21: 3-4 that God is now dwelling with us, communing with us, to the point of He himself is wiping away our tears. Furthermore in Revelation 22:1-5 God demonstrates that those who are redeemed will see Him face to face.

      Truth be told, heaven is so magnificent that we don’t and can’t fully comprehend it now (I Corinthians 2:7-9) however, this is not to say that heaven has not prepared a place for us. It merely states that our capacity can’t handle the awesomeness that awaits us.

      This is why I believe that I will one day soon see my Dad. And I’ll be able to commune with Him and talk with Him where He is at. And there I will forever be with Him, not because I’m some kind of righteous person, lol. Nope, but because I can identify with the redemption song that the elders sing in revelation. It is because of the blood of the Lamb who was found worthy. It is because He died and lives.

      Steve, again thank you for your comment and your question :).

      In your service,
      Juan

      • I agree with you as it concerns God in the heavens.  I apologize for not being clear. The scriptures make it clear that his throne is in the heavens.  Clearly, his dwelling place is in a elevated section of heaven.  In other words, there is a clear distinction and demarcation between his actual dwelling place in the heavens and where angles are.  Can he condescend from his lofty position in heaven? Yes.  And has.

        That is why I am in agreement with the scriptures where it states his throne is in the heavens.  As for God being everywhere at one time all the time, I am not in agreement.  This is not to say that he can not be in multiple locations at one time.  His very name alone tells us that he can be or do anything  he needs or wants in order to accomplish his will or purpose.  However,  the bible teaches that while he can be and do, he uses his angles and holy spirit; and for that portion of his will and purpose that affects us on the earth, he has shown to use imperfect humans as well.  And based on how the scriptures describe his activities, more often than not, he uses his angles and his holy spirit ( dynamic energy that we can not begin to understand) to carry out his expressed will.  Sometimes he is there with his angle(s) and sometimes not.  Additionally, because he states he is doing something or is at or in a particular location does not mean that he is physically there or physical doing it.  Again, in many cases, it is his angles or his holy spirit carrying out his express will.  The angles even speak in his name or as a spokesman such as a emissary speaks  for a ruler in another country.

        The fact that God is not omnipresent in the sense of being literally everywhere and in everything can be seen from the fact that Solomon spoke of God as hearing “from the heavens, your established place of dwelling,” that is, the heavens of the spirit realm (1Ki 8:30, 39).  And whether you want to accept this information or not is really not that important right now in the grand scheme of things.   What is really important is that he is there for us when we are not thinking about him or feel we need him.  That is the important thing, especially in these last days.

      • As for you seeing your Dad, that is a hope and reality that the bible teaches.  But it does not state that you will see him in heaven.  Flesh and blood can not exist in the heavens.  And we as humans do not originate from the heavens nor have we lived our lives as spirit creatures with spirit bodies.  Your Dad, just like you and me, is from the earth.  We were born on the earth.  This is all we have ever known.  We have human bodies adaptable for this environment we live.  Not one human ever resurrected was resurrected to heaven.   Even Jesus was resurrected on the earth before he ascended to heaven.

        Consider Lazarus who was raised from the dead.   Did Lazarus state he was in heaven with God?   Better yet, did he say he was in a fiery place of torment? Did Lazarus even suggest that he was rescuded from anything bad or that he, being resurrected, impeded him from enjoying something good?   The answer to these questions are No!   And you will not find it in the case of others that were resurrected by Jesus, his disciples or the prophets of ancient Israel. 

        While I do agree that there are a few that will be chosen by God to be with Jesus in the heavens, that does not pertain to the majority of mankind that have lived since Adam.  This is a conversation for another time. 

        But for the majority of mankind that have lived and died before you and I, they have a marvelous  opportunity that is not known by most of them because of ignorance of God’s purpose for mankind.  To be resurrected on this earth and to play significant role in helping to transform this earth into a paradise.   They will also have a opportunity to be taught by God and about God so they can decide whether they want to live by his righteous standards. 

        You and I need to be focused on God’s requirement for living forever on a paradise earth.  Moreover, we need to identify those standards and applied them to our life.   Millions now living may never taste death at all.  If we are fortunate to be apart of that great crowd, we will part of the nucleus responsible for welcoming those resurrected to the earth.  If we taste death before Armageddon, we can have the hope of a resurrection.  Either way, we will be united with our loved ones.  And that is truly a blessing from God.

      • Hey Steve!

        Sorry that its taken me so long to reply back. School has kept me crazy busy, lol. I will say this. I believe scripture teaches that 1. God will give us new bodies so we can enter heaven and scripture is very clear about that. 2. Lazarus didn’t state much…at least not the one that Jesus Resurrected, but the other Lazarus that Jesus mentions in a parable, clearly describes the difference of on place of torment and the other place of rest. 3. No one who goes to the place of torment can ever come back from it so it stands to reason that no one resurrected will talk about it…that is until the last day where we shall all stand before God. However, there are people who have described heaven, Paul being one of them. 4. Sorry for the confusion concerning “Dad”. I call God “Dad” because He truly has been my “Dad”. However, He is also Lord, Judge and Ruler…….But He’s still my Dad :). So when I say “I want to see my Dad” Im refering to the fact that I want to see God. See His face. Love on Him and let Him finally love on me. At any rate Steve at least we can agree on the fact that we both love God 🙂 Everything else, is just that, everything else. One day all who love Him and have placed their hopes on Him will one day see Him. Whether in Heaven or on Earth, the important thing is to Love the Lord. Not religiously, but with a sincere heart. Love Him and Him only for there is only one name that can save and that name is Jesus. So even though you and I may disagree on heaven and earth. These things are but triffal compared to Jesus. Its all about Jesus. Always has and always will be :).

      • Juan,
             I truly understand the desire for a better life and a better environment.  I really do.   Most people that have been taught this heaven vs. hell philosophy yearn to be in heaven because nobody wants to go to a place where they will be tormented for the rest of their life.   I certainly would not.   And for a very long time, I too was focused on going to heaven until I learn the truth.

        People want to go to heaven, to avoid being tormented for eternity in a hell (Sheol, hades, pit).

        The truth is, living forever, even after the resurrection is based on obedience to God’s righteous standards.  He alone has the right to establish these standards becasue he is sovereign.  Those, spirit creatures (angles) or mankind, that refuse to submit to God’s rule, will be destroyed.  They will not live forever.   The bible tells us that all those disobedient angles that followed the one called Satan the Devil will be destroyed.  They are not going to a fiery place of torment.  And as for us as humans, Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us that after death, there is no actively.  So, ask yourself, how could a person be tormented for eternity when God states through Solomon that mankind is not a live in Sheol or hell? 

        If you still want to consider hell be a place of torment, Think about it!! What kind of person would torture someone for the rest of their life? Certainly, not the God I serve, not my dad!!  What would be the point? 

        Review if you would his own words at Ezekiel 33:11.   God does not even delight in the destruction of the wick.   And, even though some of the wicked take unwise advantage of his patience, even scoff at the warning that one day his long-suffering will come to an end, he continues to put up with it in order that those who are of honest heart may turn to him and be saved (2 Peter 3:3, 4, 9, 15; Romans 2:4).

        You were created to live on the earth and enjoy what God has promise those faithful to him after Armageddon.  You are not of the “Little Flock” that will be brought from the earth to heaven to reign as kings and priests with Jesus.  These are the ones that will be given spirit bodes in order to live in the spirit environment.  Flesh and blood can not live in heaven (this is where the reigning government or kingdom resides) based on  1 Corinthians 15:50-53.   Also, those of the “Little Flock” will be given immortality along with Jesus as a gift for their faithfulness.  You are of the “Great Crowd” that will enjoy life on a paradise earth as long as you remain obedient.  Those of the “Great Crowd” do not inherit immortality.  Everlasting life is conditional.

        This information I am sharing with you does not negate Your desire and expectation to be with your Dad and share a close relationship with him.  Adam was a man who live on earth and he had a real close relationship with his father, our Dad and God.  No where do you read that Adam went to heaven.  He did not need to.  Genesis 3:8 tells us that God walked about in the garden during the breezy part of the days.  God and Adam were very close which is the reason why God was devastated by what Adam had done, not Eve.

      • “Lazarus didn’t state much…at least not the one that Jesus Resurrected, but the other Lazarus that Jesus mentions in a parable, clearly describes the difference of on place of torment and the other place of rest. ”

        I understand your point.  I am sure you have taken to time to ensure your viewpoint is in harmony with all 66 books of Your Father’s words.  I do believe that you are genuine in your conviction on this matter.

        Consider this though about the teachings of Jesus.  His style of teaching was mostly through illustrations.  

        Illustrations include parables and, in many cases, proverbs.  A proverb embodies a truth in expressive language, often metaphorically, and a parable is a comparison or similitude, a short, usually fictitious, narrative from which a moral or spiritual truth is drawn.  In other words, because as humans, we think in pictures but we speak in words, it is easier for us to learn and retain by way of visual.  Even when we read something, we visualize it in our minds.  That is the way we were designed by our Father.  Jesus, being a master worker beside his Father is well aware of this.  So, when Jesus teaches, he drive home points by way of illustrations to ensure that those that are listening fully understand his life saving instructions.

        Although some illustrations begin with expressions such as: “Once upon a time,” “A man had,” “There was a man,” “A certain man was,” or similar phrases, they were devised by the speaker under influence of God’s spirit and were what they are called proverbs, illustrations or parables (Judges 9:8; Matthew 21:28, 33; Luke 16:1, 19).  Of Jesus Christ it is said: “All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds by illustrations.   Indeed, without an illustration he would not speak to them” (Matthew 13:34; Mark 4:33, 34).

        There are about 30  illustrations used by Jesus Christ in his earthly ministry and recorded by the Gospel writers.  All of his illustrations, though fictional, we’re use to teach and emphasis spiritual points.  The “Rich Man and Lazarus” is one of those illustrations.    Jesus is counseling the Pharisees on their materialistic attitudes and lack of compassion for the common people by way of  illustration that features two men whose status, or situation, is eventually changed dramatically:

        1. The “rich man” represented the Pharisees. (Check out verse 14.) 
        2. The beggar Lazarus represented the common Jewish people who were despised by the Pharisees but who repented and became followers of Jesus. (Check out  Luke 18:11; John 7:49; Matthew 21:31, 32.) 
        3. Their deaths were also symbolic, representing a change in circumstances. Thus, the formerly despised ones came into a position of divine favor, and the formerly seemingly favored ones were rejected by God, while being tormented by the judgment messages delivered by the ones whom they had despised.  ( Check out Acts 5:33; 7:54.)

        If taken literally, 
        1.   It would mean that those enjoying divine favor could all fit at the bosom of one man, Abraham.
        2.  That the water on one’s fingertip would not be evaporated by the fire of Hades; that a mere drop of water would bring relief to one suffering there. 

        Does that sound reasonable to you?  If it were literal, it would conflict with other parts of the Bible.  If the Bible were thus contradictory, would a lover of truth use it as a basis for his faith?   But the Bible does not contradict itself.

        Do you still think Lazarus is a real person in this illustration?

      • Steve,

        I want to reply to one statement you made; the most important statement that anyone can make. You stated that “The truth is, living forever, even after the resurrection is based on obedience to God’s righteous standards”. Furthermore, you also stated that “Everlasting life is conditional”. The reason why this is so important is because salvation in its entirety hinges upon this statement and so, I am going to answer this statement and this alone. Everything else in your response can be debated and faults can be found on both sides of the debate, even to the destination and constant state of one’s soul. Nevertheless, the requirement for salvation is very clear and un-debatable.

        You state that salvation is based on the adherence to God’s standards of righteousness. You also state that “… the Bible does not contradict itself”. The latter statement is correct, scripture does not contradict itself. Therefore, since we both agree on this point, let’s look at some scripture that affirm the fact that salvation is through faith, and faith alone.

        First of all, understand that humanity is sinful. Humanity includes everyone, religious and none religious people alike. The Bible is very clear about this fact: Romans 3:23 states “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NIV). The context is clear, it refers to all humanity, and in the context of the roman 1st century church it includes Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, (Romans 3:9). Scripture further states “There is none righteous, no not one” ( Romans 3;10). But it doesn’t end there, scripture continues hammering the point that we are unrighteous through Adam’s example stating “..Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12), also “through one man’s offense, judgment came to all men” (Romans 5:18). Even Paul affirms his sinful condition “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). And David (the king) also acknowledges this by stating “for in Your sight no one living is righteous” (Psalm 143:2).

        Scripture also teaches us that salvation and justification is not done through adherence to the law or as another bible translation states “law”. In Isaiah 64:6 we see Isaiah pleading for Israel in which he states “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags…” The filthy rags is bad enough but the use of “filthy rags” in this passage is a Hebrew reference of a woman’s menstrual rag. For a Jew (Isaiah) this was the worst most despicable way to describe anything. The fact that Isaiah uses this to describe righteousness is shocking (and if it was not in scripture, I would not believe it). God makes a similar statement concerning Israel’s ways (sinful ways) in Ezekiel 36:17. Paul clearly tells us that the law was not able to save us “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness off sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, (v4) that the righteousness requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) In Hebrews, the scriptures states that “for the law made nothing perfect” (Hebrews 7:19). It continues to say “for If the first covenant (the law) had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.” (Hebrews 8:7). Galatians makes it very obvious when it states “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’”(Galatians 3:10-12). But before that, Paul says “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? – Just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness,’ therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham, and the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” (Galatians 3:2-9). Paul further states “if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Galatians 2:21). Steve, no one can be justified through their own righteousness. You state that “Flesh and blood cannot live in heaven” and you base this on 1 Corinthians 15:50. You are correct. Corruption cannot enter the presence of God. However do you not see that our works can never make us “uncorrupted”. We cannot do more good than bad in order to somehow tip the scales of righteousness and thus cleans ourselves of corruption. That’s found nowhere in scripture. Like Paul says “if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” (Ibid).

        So why did Christ die? The scriptures says “For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, sine it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, ‘this is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you’. Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore It was necessary that the copies of the things in heaven should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another…but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Hebrews 9:16-25, 26b). I apologize for the really long quote however, I want you to see that this is not a debate or my flowery words, this is scripture. Christ had to die because the law demanded a blood sacrifice. The blood of bulls and lambs where never sufficient but merely a copy. Christ had to fulfill what only He could fulfill. For us to say that our righteousness can fulfill what God deemed only fulfill-able by the perfection and sinlessness of Christ, would A. Make us equal with Christ (and thus make his death void) B. Call God a liar for He says that our sacrifices are not sufficient. With His death, Christ didn’t just open a way to heaven, He IS the way to heaven “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Scripture further states “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

        Salvation is not an act of works but of faith. As scripture states in Romans 6:23 “for the wages of sin is Death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is no ambiguity in the scriptures. Wages is something we earn and God says our wages is death. A gift is something free, something not earned, if it was earned it would cease to be a gift and it would be instead a wage. As the scriptures says “now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5). Therefore, since our salvation is not based on what we do, and based on what Christ did and is doing. Our salvation is sure, for God cannot lose, nor is there anything that we can do that can affect what God has already done. As the scriptures say “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25). Scripture is also clear in that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6). Works without faith is not pleasing to God for “without faith it is impossible…”.

        God’s salvation is assured in the name of Jesus through His sacrifice and resurrection. “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory, O’ Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

        This is salvation: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). God makes no distinction as to who can claim “everlasting life”. Whosoever means anybody, and anybody can turn to Christ and place their faith on Him for salvation, and anybody can receive everlasting life. Jesus goes on to say “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18).

        Salvation cannot be based on our works. Everything else hinges on this very fact. God provided His son because we could never attain salvation by what we do. But God, because He loves us and desired for our redemption has provided the payment of that which we could never pay. However, how can we accept a payment that we don’t believe in? How can we say we believe in Christ and yet refuse His sacrifice? He’s already made the payment. All we have to do is accept it. As the scriptures says when speaking to those who have accepted this payment “you were bought at a price…” (1 Corinthians 6:20, and 1 Corinthians 7:23). When we accept Christ’s gift, we become His. And He transforms us. But this is a work He does in us, not us ourselves. Moreover this is a work He does not to save us but because we are already saved. Scripture tells that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). Thus God’s purchase of us is complete.

        Steve, everything else pales by far in comparison to this one point, that is salvation by faith. It doesn’t frighten me to think about earth or heaven. Sleeping or active state, or whatever else could be debated. However, what does frighten me is the realization that there is a possibility you are trusting in works for your salvation. And in this I implore you to see that there is nothing you can do to attain salvation. Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life and no one can come to the Father, but by Him.

        With an insane amount of love my friend,

        Juan

    • Living forever is a reality only by way of the Christ.  It was not a reality under the Law.  God’s word states there will be a resurrection of the. Righteous and unrighteousness.  It is all about ones heart condition as to who will be resurrected.  Many died in ignorance.  Some died knowing and doing God’s.  Some died knowing God’s will and purpose but chose to ignore.  But it is God through his Son that will determine who lives again.   And then there are those that may never taste death at all.  These are the survives of Armageddon.

      Everlasting life is a gift from God.  It is also part of his original purpose for the earth and mankind, which has never changed.  But everlasting life is based on obedience to God’s word.  If Adam would have been obedient, mankind would not be in the sinful state we are in.   As a result, he died, just has God said woulf happen.  If the one called Satan the Devil and the demons had of been obedient to God’s heavenly arrangement, they would not be mark for death.

      All of these are promise from God that help drive our faith in him.

      Faith is, therefore, the basis for hope and the evidence for conviction concerning unseen realities.  The entire body of truths delivered by Jesus Christ and his inspired disciples constitutes the true Christian “faith.” Christian faith is based on the complete Word of God, including the Hebrew Scriptures, to which Jesus and the writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures frequently referred in support of their statements.

      James says “a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24), for there must be practical works that demonstrate one’s faith, giving proof of it.

      So, if you have faith in the scriptures, you would be following the teaching of God’s word, carefully evaluating your action against it.  Faith without application (works) is dead.  It has no life saving qualities.  Having faith is not just believing or credulity.   Even the demons believed but they are not afraid of their opposition towards God and his Son Jesus.

  2. Pingback: Who is in control? « Michael Wilson's Blog

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