Summary: “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal” John 21:10-11.
Adam and Eve began life in a perfect place with perfect surroundings. Man’s sin of disobedience affected God’s perfect creation and man lost his perfect home in the Garden of Eden. God has placed within every human heart the desire to search for that perfect home Adam lost. Sinful man, however, is searching for that perfect place in the wrong place with the wrong people. Only those who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord can begin the search in the right place with the right person. Christ paid the price for our sin and restoration and has prepared a new home for us called the heavenly city. The heavenly city has more to offer and is worth more than anything we can ever imagine or dream of. We are pilgrims here on earth on our way to our new home in the heavenly city.
Step One: The heavenly city
a) A city prepared for the saints
God has prepared a heavenly city for those who believe in Him. “By faith Abraham went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God”. (Hebrews in 11:9-10) The Old Testament saints did not receive God’s promises but saw them by faith, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
b) A city where God reigns
The heavenly city is a city where God reigns in the hearts of its inhabitants. Everywhere God reigns His attributes and works are evident and one can only thank, praise, and worship Him. How else can we respond to the One who has not only saved us and made us righteous but has also prepared a new heavenly city for us?
c) A city where God’s will is done
A place where God reigns is subject to His will. A person who is filled with thanksgiving, praise and worship will acknowledge God in every area of their life and cannot do anything outside His will. We declare this whenever we say the Lord’s Prayer “Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. When we are sincere in our praise and worship, we will accept that doing His will is the best thing that can ever happen to us. In the heavenly city everything is perfect as everything is in accordance with His will. We become His people and live with him when we do His will. As His people He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
At Creation God prepared a perfect home for man. He gave man dominion over all creation to safeguard that perfect home. He had dominion over the serpent but was deceived and lost his home and his god given dominion. Satan believed he had won an important victory because God had given authority to man and only a man could restore that authority and man was no longer in a position to exercise that authority. This seemed impossible because in Adam all have sinned and justice and righteousness were the foundations of His throne. The devil did not reckon that God would become a man without a sin nature, live a sinless life and be offered up as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for sin. On the Cross Christ shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin “for the wages of sin is death”.
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”. Christ has bought our redemption with His blood and whosoever believes is made spiritually alive and becomes a child of God.
Step Two: The entry requirements
a) Belief in Christ
The entry requirement to enter the heavenly city is belief in Christ. Salvation is a necessary visa and can only be obtained by believing what Christ has done on your behalf through His suffering, death and resurrection. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” Eph. 2:8.
b) The righteousness of Christ
Salvation imputes to every believer the righteousness of God. When Christ was made sin with our sinfulness, we were made righteous with His righteousness. We are a spirit being, we possess a soul and we live in a body. At salvation we received a new spirit where the Holy Spirit can live and renew our minds.
c) A renewed mind
A renewed mind thinks and acts in accordance with the Word of God. We can only renew our mind when we know the word of God especially because before salvation, we had always acted contrary to the Word of God.