Thursday, August 3

I Believe in Heaven

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." --John 14:6 (NIV)

Tonight I was idling away some time in front of the television watching "Malcolm in the Middle." Although it's slightly bizarre in nature, one of the things I like about it is the dynamic between the parents (Hal and Lois) on the show. They frequently engage in genuine, thought-provoking diaglogue, as well as take time to be together away from their 5 unruly kids. In this particular episode, as the couple was relaxing together, Hal made an off-hand remark about what heaven must be like. He expected Lois to join in the pleasant reverie, but she didn't. Instead she revealed that she didn't believe there was a heaven.

"I'm just not an afterlife sort of person" she explained.

The point is not whether there really is an afterlife. There is. Each of us is made up of that which is temporary and that which is eternal. Even once our physical bodies, the temporary, cease to carry out their functions, our souls continue to exist. For centuries, every world religion has attempted to explain what the soul is and what happens to it when its earthen vessel dies.

The afterlife is very real, and there are two options--heaven, or hell. Heaven is not a reward for people (or pets) who are good or well-behaved while they are alive. It's not some lofty place in the clouds where we all float around in glittery pajamas while strumming a harp. Similarly, hell is not merely a place of fiery torment reserved for people who cheat on their income tax returns. Nor is it reminiscent of anything we've seen in television or movies--a place where a cloven-hooved demon prods people with a pitch fork.

Heaven is where those who have a relationship with God can enjoy Him and worship Him for all eternity. It is a place free of evil and pain where we can commune with God as He originally intended. Hell, on the other hand, is eternal separation from God as a result of our failure to recognize Jesus as God's Son.

Christians, like myself, believe that the only way to get to heaven is through God's one and only son. Nothing we could do on our own can earn us a place in God's presence. I believe in heaven, but more importantly, I believe in God. I believe that I am going to spend eternal life in heaven because I have accepted God's mercy and have been forgiven of my sins. I don't deserve this, but God extends me His grace anyway. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and it is through him that I am permitted to come to the Father.

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