Topic: Topical Scripture: Romans 8:18–8:25
As we travel through life we realize our own mortality. Every human culture has wrestled with facing our death and asked the question of life after death. Many answers are given to the great mystery of death. The materialist advocates the long dirt nap, eastern philosophy would have reincarnation based upon karma and most Americans still believe in heaven and around 60% even believe in hell. Of course, most believe that nobody is really going to hell which is reserved for perhaps Hitler and a other "really bad" folks.
Jesus taught that life is very much a journey either in relationship with God or in rebellion against God. He described it this way in Matthew 7:13, 14
13“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The destination for those who belong to Jesus is a coming Kingdom of Heaven where we will live together on the earth. Those who have faith in Jesus will be resurrected to everlasting life on a new earth where God is the bright shining center of all things. The pastor theologian Jonathan Edwards described the centrality of God in heaven as follows:
And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light. And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven, fills heaven with love, as the sun, placed in the midst of the visible heavens in a clear day, fills the world with light……There this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!
-- Jonathan Edwards – Heaven is a World of Love…
Our final hope is arrives when Jesus brings about his Kingdom which is described in Revelation 21:1-4:
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
God is patient with the world in bringing about his Kingdom as he is allowing time for many people to repent (turn from sin/self to God) and become part of his family. God's kindness leads many to repentance, though many will persist in sin and be lost under God's good and just condemnation.
In this season of life we wait for the Kingdom with great hope extending the good news of Jesus' death for sin and new life for people during our sojourn on the earth.