April 1st, 2019
John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono wrote an idealistic anthem “Imagine”, which was released in the USA in 1971. The song begins with, “Imagine there’s no heaven”. It was presented as a set of ideal mental images, which were virtually impossible in this world, due to the corruption of sin.
But what if there was no heaven and no hell? Would we commit our lives to Jesus and attempt to live in a manner that honors God? Would his spirit living in us, be sufficient motivation to turn our backs on sin and seek a relationship with the creator?
Jesus came to the world to resurrect us from spiritual death. The death that took place in the garden long before any of us were born. Being born of the spirit is exactly as it sounds. We were physically born into this world and while we physically live, without that spiritual birth we remain dead in sin spiritually.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:11-14 (ESV)
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:12 (ESV)
Having a spiritual life has a definite attraction, but if it comes at the expense of putting off the flesh how many would this appeal to?
There’s more life on this side of death
The fact of the matter is that if there wasn’t a heavenly reward or the punishment of hell, I would choose life regardless. There are several reasons we find in scripture that support my thinking regarding this false what-if question.
Abundant life – If we are born physically and then are also born spiritually then there is more life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 (ESV)
The key reason for Jesus coming, living among us and dying for us was so we could have that spiritual birth and he could have a relationship with us. Despite being lost in our sin and condemned by the law to a penalty of death, Jesus took that debt and paid it with his own life. Even though he was God’s Son, he felt that his purchase of our salvation was worth the cost, so we could live through and with him.
His Spirit living in us – This relationship goes beyond any relationship we can have with another person. God, living in us! What an indescribable fullness is found when the Spirit of the Living God resides in us. It’s popular with couples to claim that the other partner completes them, it’s not the case. We are completed when the Spirit lives in us.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11 (ESV)
We’re talking about ‘now’, the Spirit giving life to our mortal bodies through his indwelling. He’s there as our intercessor, teacher, guide, and to act as the best possible representative on our behalf before the throne of heaven. Capable of expressing the intent and desire of our heart to the heart of God.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (ESV)
This symbiotic relationship we share with the Spirit gives us a peace and comfort is beyond anything that the world can fathom. We live in Christ Jesus and his Spirit lives in us. This ever so tight relationship between him and us yields numerous fruits of the Spirit, but inexplicable joy is a hallmark of that relationship.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV)
“The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding”. When I think back on my life outside of the will of God, there was little or no peace at all. Even when there were times of relaxation, those periods were fleeting and couldn’t be maintained.
Real peace isn’t found until the Spirit is living in you. The cheap imitations of the world do not sustain their effect and we are left empty and wanting.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9 (ESV)
Inexpressible joy. Joy that is sustained through the worst tribulation and torment. If persecution comes to us and we are deprived of everything we currently possess, what cannot be taken from us, is the joy of our salvation.
But there is a Heaven
But just as John and Yoko’s song is an impossibility in this world because of the corruption and sin that abounds here, the truth of God’s Word is that there is a heaven. Jesus said…
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
John 14:2-4 (ESV)
A place for everyone that places their lives in the life of Christ Jesus so he can place His Life in us. We’ve already been raised prior to the physical death. We are raised with him to new life. We live with him now and we’ll live with him in heaven.