On Saturday night, 20/20, with Barbara Walters asked the question, “What is Heaven?” This two-hour special looked at many of the major religions and religious leaders of the world and asked then to describe what heaven is and how we can make sure that we get there.
A common theme began to develop as snippets of past interviews of common, everyday people, along with celebrities and religious leaders began to try to describe what heaven would be like after our deaths here on earth. This common theme resulted in the idea that heaven was all about us. Interviewees described what they thought they would experience, people they would meet, and how heaven would be for them. The problem with this lies in the fact that everyone had their own ideas, yet all had the same notion that heaven somehow would be primarily about them; the individual.
Heaven is being overwhelmed by the perfect prescience of God in our spirit forms. Heaven has never been about us, but rather about God.
Throughout the Biblical Scriptures the progressive story of God’s love extending towards humankind with this purpose: the Restoration of all creation to Him. This restoration, yes for our benefit, does not negate the fact that restoration can only come from God and therefore is about coming to Him. Hence the answer to, “How do we get to Heaven?” must also come from God. This was the second theme from 20/20, try to be a good person and do good deeds and you will get to heaven. Here’s the problem, as Andy Stanley puts it, “How Good is Good Enough?” One persons good might be better than anothers, and what standard do we have for simply trying to be/do good?
This is where the Bible helps us again; there is a standard, not made by man, but rather by God. Verses like John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Or John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Now I could go on giving similar verses that point to Jesus as the only way to “get” to heaven or to find salvation, but you get the point. The kickback with this is that it just seems unfair to most. They ask Christ-Followers, why would God be so rigid, or why would a loving God make this the only way? I don’t know why, but I choose to put my faith in something much more concrete, something that has plumb line, and I recognize that I am finite and don’t have to understand it all to put my faith in Christ. The fact of the matter is, Christianity is the only religion where God shows love. Yes, Christianity is entirely unfair. It is so unfair that God gave up His Son to a sinful, fallen world so that we might be able to come into relationship with Him once more. Christianity is so unfair, so merciful, so gracious, that no matter what you have done in your life you can choose to be redeemed and restored back into relationship with God. It doesn’t mean that forgiveness washes away consequences here on earth, but it does mean it washes away the consequences of sin in the next life.
I couldn’t agree more that Christianity is unfair, and we are the beneficiaries of that unfairness.
I believe heaven is real. I believe heaven is all about the presence of God consuming us. I believe Jesus is the Savior. I believe through Him our stories here on earth help change the stories of others. Every person has a soul. Every soul has a name. Every name has a story. Every soul and every story needs redeemed and restored by the Creative God. Heaven is real, and so are you. The only question is whether you will accept His standard, His love, His Son?