Category: Heaven

Occupations in heaven

Some notes based on (and quoting from) a sermon by Glenn Pease:-

There once was a woman who always was tired
She lived in a house where no help was hired.
On her death bed she said, dear friends I am goin
Where washing aint done nor cookin nor sewin,
And everything there will be just to my wishes,
For where they don’t eat there’s no washin of dishes.
Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me ever,
For I’m goin to do nothin, forever and ever.

How can heaven and hell co-exist eternally?

How can heaven and hell possibly co-exist everlastingly (asks Philip Edgecumbe Hughes)?  Would this not be incompatible with the redemption achieved by Christ?  For,

  • Christ “has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb 9:26; 1 John 3:5);
  • through his appearing death has been abolished (2 Tim 1:10);
  • in the new heaven and the new earth, that is, in the whole realm of the renewed order of creation, there will be no more weeping or suffering, “and death shall be no more” (Rev 21:4).

Brian McLaren reads John 14:6

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

These words constitute the go-to text for Christians who wish to assert that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.  It is also the go-to text for those who feel that Christianity condemns itself as abhorrent and intolerant by reason of the very exclusiveness of this saying.

But does does the text actually mean what most of its friends (and, indeed, most of its enemies) think it means?…

Aiōnios: duration, quality, or both?

In his book The Fire That Consumes Fudge devotes an entire chapter (chapter 4) to the meaning of the Greek word aiōnios (usually translated ‘eternal’).

The key question is this: does the word mean (a) everlasting, (b) characteristic of the age to come, or (c) either or both of these (depending on context)?

A key text is Matthew 25:46, which speaks both of ‘eternal life’ and ‘eternal punishment’.  Many argue that aiōnios must mean the same in both parts of the verse. …

A tale of two cities

It is a commonplace with preachers to point out that as Christians we have two addresses, two places of residence.  This dual citizenship is expressed frequently, and in varied ways, throughout Scripture.

In writing to the Corinthians, for example, the apostle Paul greets ‘the church or God in Corinth…those sanctified in Christ Jesus’ (1 Cor 1:1).  They are ‘in Corinth’, and they are at the same time ‘in Christ’.  The same apostle writes to ‘all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi’ (Phil 1:1), and later in that same letter makes it clear where our primary home is: ‘our citizenship is in heaven’ (Phil 3:20).…

Judgment according to works

Recent re-thinking about the doctrine of justification throws up a related question about the final judgment:-

Are we warranted to say that we are justified by faith, but are judged by works?  The very idea seems to undermine the grace of God and to take away with one hand what has so freely been given with the other.

N.T. Wright on ‘Justification by Works’

‘Here [in Rom 2:1-16] is the first statement about justification in Romans, and lo and behold it affirms justification according to works!…

Shall we know one another in heaven?

For many Christians the prospect of being re-united with loved ones in the life to come is one of the greatest comforts in the face of bereavement.

Of course, this prospect ought not to overshadow that fellowship with our Lord which ought to be pre-eminent.  After all, the Psalmist could pray, “Whom have I in heaven but thee?’ (Psa 73:25), and Paul’s great desire was to depart and ‘being with Christ’, Phil 1:23; 1 Thess 4:17. …

The life to come

The ultimate destiny towards which all of God’s purposes are moving is ‘a new heaven and a new earth’, Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13. Here, we can only know and understand in part, 1 Cor 13:12. However, some things are clear.

The life to come will be:-

1. An embodied life. Just as the new earth will be different from the old, 1 Cor 7:31, so the new body will be different also. Still, our future life will be experienced by the whole person, not by some disembodied spirit, Rom 8:19-25.…