Summary: What makes heaven heaven? God is there. If we went to a place paved with gold and ornamented with jewels and bathed in dazzling light, and governed by satan, it would be a place of torment, pain, and sorrow.
3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
What happens when you die? For one thing, you’re dead. Let’s just talk a moment about what that means physically. You stop breathing. You’re heart stops beating. Your brain stops functioning (for some of us this happens long before we die). Your immune system shuts down, so bacteria and various other creatures begin to eat the feast left behind. Depending on your family, your body may be burned and become a collection of ashes. Let’s consider what doesn’t happen. You are no longer hungry, or thirsty, or driven by any other of your body’s desires. So, where will your heart be at this time?
When i was in high school a friend who was enamoured with psychology asked a group of us what we would think if we were suddenly in a room with all white-white doors, white walls, white floors and white cielings. People had various answers. I said, first i would wonder what i was doing there. Then, since i had time to myself, i’d spend some time talking with God (praying). He laughed and said that the question was designed to reveal what we think of heaven. What do you think of heaven?
Some of us might think of riches-streets paved with gold, gates of pearl, walls built of precious stones. Others think of beauty-gold & jewels again-but everyting radiating, reflecting and refracting light in a brilliant dance of color. Please notice, even here, though Paul is clearly talking of going to heaven, he avoids the word heaven. Jesus, also, in the Gospel of John, never talks of going to heaven. He says “I am returning to the Father”. For Jesus heaven is the place where his Father is. Here Paul says the same thing-set your heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. What makes heaven heaven? God is there. If we went to a place paved with gold and ornamented with jewels and bathed in dazzling light, and governed by satan, it would be a place of torment, pain, and sorrow. If heaven were ruled by us, it may end up the same. But the place we’re going when we die is where goodness, peace, truth, love and joy dwell-in Christ. In real estate they say all that matters when it comes to value is location, location, location. In the Bible the only thing that matters concerning heavenly real estate is who our nieghbors are. As long as we’re in Christ, with the Father, we can be anywhere and it will be heaven.
So. Paul says we are already there-we died. This is what baptism means. Circumcision, we talked about earlier, is a cutting away of the flesh. Baptism goes well beyond that and just buries the whole thing. But baptism doesn’t leave us under water, eternally drowning. We come out of the water, resurrected, fit for heaven-the presence of God. We should, therefore, live like people living in heaven, living in the presence of God.
Prayer for Today
Father, teach me to live my life hidden in you. Be my hiding place, my strong tower, my rock of defense, my home. Teach me to live constantly aware of the reality that you are with me in every conversation, every event, every activity, every argument, every decision, everything.
Let me live a life fit for heaven. Today, let me be a taste of heaven for everyone I meet.
In the name of Jesus, who left the glory of your presence to bring us home to you.