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November 13, 2014

The Hope of Heaven, Part 4

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2 (NIV)

 

The ultimate experience of Heaven will be to see God as He is! John promises us that “… we shall see Him (God) as He is.” Later in Revelation 22:4, John wraps up his apocalyptic book with a similar promise when he says, “They will see His face…” How? How can we see the face of God? The writer of Hebrews answers that question in Hebrews 12:14, “Without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” The hope of heaven and seeing the face of God, is not based on our ability to produce holiness, but on a Holy God who makes us Holy in Christ!In his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said, “Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified.” The Bible says, “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions.Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:21-22 (NLT)Apart from Christ, none of us would be holy enough to see God. Yet, for the Christ follower there is no greater promise we have of heaven than that of seeing our Lord and Savior!   Even in the Old Testament, David said, One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NIV) The hope of heaven, to see God as He is fuels excitement for our future! With a future in heaven secure, it gives us a sense of anticipation like a child awaiting Christmas morning. He sees all the packages under the tree with his name on them and he doesn’t know what’s inside but he knows it will be great because of the love of the one giving them!

C. S. Lewis summed it up well when he said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” In Hebrews 11:14-16, the Bible says,”People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul adds, But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Did you get that? Paul is saying that you will get a new body in heaven!   What will it be like? In our key verse, John said “… we shall be like Him….” In the book Heaven: Your Real Home, Joni Eareckson Tada, paralyzed from a diving accident years ago, said, “One day, no more bulging middles or balding tops. No varicose veins or crow’s feet. No more cellulite or support hose. Forget the thunder thighs and highway hips. Just a quick leapfrog over the tombstone and it’s the body you’ve always dreamed of. Fit and trim, smooth and sleek.” I can’t wait!