Heaven — Is it a Real Destination after Death?
What is the deal with heaven? It seems to be a somewhat complicated biblical concept with lots of opinions on it over the years. My hope is in Jesus and I know that I will always be with Him. I have eternal life.
The question to begin with is does heaven exist and is it a real destination after death for followers of Jesus?
The disciples of Jesus can sometimes sincerely disagree on minor matters — although you should never forget that all the disciples agree on those things that are really important, such as the divinity of the Messiah, His death on the cross for our salvation, His resurrection from the dead, and our hope of heaven.
I’m convinced that when we die, we immediately enter the presence of the Master. At some future time, we will be given new bodies, similar to the body Jesus had after His resurrection. But in the meantime, our souls are with the Master, and we are fully conscious of being in His presence.
This certainly seemed to be the Apostle Paul’s hope. He faced many dangers, and he knew that at any moment his life on earth could end.
But he faced death with hope.
“So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Master. Therefore, whether we are at home [on earth] or away from home [and with Him], it is our [constant] ambition to be pleasing to Him. For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of the Messiah, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives — the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].” (2 Corinthians 5:6-10 The Amplified Bible).
Elsewhere he declared:
“For to me, to live is the Messiah [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]. If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with the Messiah, for that is far, far better; yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your rejoicing for me may overflow in the Messiah Jesus through my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:21-26 The Amplified Bible).
Never forget that we have hope of life after death for one reason: Jesus the Messiah removed the barrier between us and God — the barrier caused by missing God’s goal (aka sin).
Is your hope in Jesus? If not, put your trust in the Messiah without delay.
How do I get to heaven? How can I become a Christian?
The first step to become a Christian (think disciple of Jesus) is to understand what the term “Christian” means. The origin of the term “Christian” was in the city of Antioch in the first century A.D. (see Acts 11:26). It is possible that, at first, the term “Christian” was intended to be an insult. The word essentially means “little Christ.” A disciple or follower of Jesus commits to learning from our King Jesus.
Over the centuries, believers in Christ have adopted the term “Christian” and use it to identify themselves as followers of Jesus the Messiah. A simple definition of a Christian is a person who follows King Jesus. It is someone that has committed to be a disciple (a learner or a pupil).
Why should I become a Christian?
Jesus the Messiah declared that He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The question then arises – why did we need to be ransomed? The idea of a ransom is a payment that must be made in exchange for the release of a person. The idea of a ransom is most frequently used in instances of kidnapping, when someone is kidnapped and held prisoner until a ransom is paid for the person’s release.
Jesus paid our ransom to free us from bondage!
Bondage from what? Bondage to missing God’s goal (aka sin) and its consequences, physical death followed by eternal separation from God.
Why did Jesus need to pay this ransom? Because we are all infected with missing God’s goal (aka sin) (Romans 3:23) and are therefore worthy of judgment from God (Romans 6:23).
How did Jesus pay our ransom? By dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our missing God’s goal (aka sin) (1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
How could Jesus’ death sufficiently pay for all our sins? Jesus was God in human form, God come to earth to become one of us, so He could identify with us and die for our missing God’s goal (aka sin). (John 1:1,14).
As God, Jesus’ death was infinite in value, enough to pay for the missing God’s goal (aka sin) of the entire world (1 John 2:2). Jesus’ resurrection after His death demonstrated that His death was the sufficient sacrifice, that He had truly conquered sin and death.
How can I become a Christian (a disciple)?
This is the best part. Because of His love for us, God has made it exceedingly simple to start the journey.
To get started, you must receive Jesus as your Savior, fully accepting His death as the supreme sacrifice for your missing God’s goal (aka sin) (John 3:16), fully trusting Him alone as your Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Becoming a disciple is not all about rituals, going to church, or doing certain things while refraining from other things.
Becoming a disciple is all about having a personal relationship with King Jesus the Messiah. A personal relationship with Jesus, through faith, is what makes a person a follower and dicsiple.
Are you ready to become a Christian (a disciple)?
If you are ready to become a Christian by receiving Jesus the Messiah as your Savior, here is what you must do.
- Do you understand and believe that you have missed God’s goal (aka sin)and are worthy of judgment from God?
- Do you understand and believe that Jesus took your punishment upon Himself, dying in your place?
- Do you understand and believe that His death was the supreme sacrifice to pay for your sins?
If your answers to these three questions are yes, then simply place your trust in Jesus as your Savior. Receive Him, by faith, fully trusting in Him alone. That is all it takes to start the journey and great adventure!
While you become a follower by faith, the story does not end there. This is a journey. We are all disciples (learners) of Jesus.