The reality of our destiny…
May 18th, 2019
Yesterday, I was driving and listening to Moody Radio as I often do. I was struck by a comment that was aired, which started me thinking about how we have managed to negate heaven and hell from our perspective. Perhaps this is the reason that so few feels an urgency to share the Gospel with others.
If you consider, we evaluate our current condition by the criteria we are aware of and have historical reference to in our memory. The absence of preaching about heaven and hell in our pulpits and conversation, is cause for concern. Because in the absence of this discourse in our lives, we lack the logic-driven aptitude, from which we are compelled to reach out to others to seek for them a more favorable eternal existence.
I know that paragraph was more than a mouthful. Let me break this down for better consumption.
If all we base our behavior on is what we see touch smell, understand and feel and we lack in the forefront of that understanding key elements which impact all of us, for which we have no direct experience, our assumptions based on criteria we have is severely flawed.
We are eternal beings, heaven and likewise hell are real and the ultimate destination for each and every one of us! Compounded to this, none of us know the date and time of that departure unless we happen to be planning our own suicide or executing a mission which ultimately will conclude in our physical death. Even in these cases, God’s divine intervention could preempt our planned physical death.
Though we may anticipate our future, and have plans for growth, adventure and retirement, some unknown incident can befall any of us and those plans will be terminated with extreme prejudice.
The following unaccounted factors have a critical impact on our perspective for the immediate future and our eternal outcome. We are unprepared to make a competent decision without this understanding in our reasoning:
- Humanity is an eternal being.
- Heaven and hell are real and account for the vast majority of our eternal existence.
- We have no real control over the point at which we transition from a temporal to an eternal existence.
Without external evidence we are faced to assume that our temporal lives are the extent of our existence. God created mankind differently from everything else he created. Humanity is unique in that we are eternal beings.
Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (CSB)
Each of us have a temporal and eternal component to our lives. We also are in the image of God which means that we are also triune beings. We are comprised of spirit, soul and body. The scripture doesn’t spell out our triune nature; it doesn’t even make reference to the Trinity directly. Both the triune nature of God and the triune nature of humans are a construct which is derived from our understanding of the Word of God.
All three distinct persons of the Trinity are named, and their oneness is illustrated clearly in the scripture. However, there is no term assigned to this ‘three in one’ triune deity. Instead, he is simply referred to as God.
Likewise, our spirit, soul, and body are referenced in the scripture, the eternal nature of the some of the parts is noted as well.
and the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 (CSB)
Here in Ecclesiastes the writer is talking about the end result of this temporal framework we call our body. We all eventually experience physical death; our bodies are then subject to decay and returning to the dust from where that form was crafted. At the same time, our “spirit returns to God who gave it.”
There are other references which indicate the very same eternal nature of mankind, but this one nicely illustrates the division of the temporal and the eternal in man.
It is because our natural reference point for our existence is based on the temporal component of our being rather than the eternal portion which we lack perception of.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (ESV)
This is precisely why the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is essential for our full understanding of our eternal nature.
Heaven & Hell
Briefly reflect back to the scripture quoted in Ecclesiastes, where our “spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Paul notes that ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’. Again, keying on the eternal our eternal nature.
And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment
Hebrews 9:27 (CSB)
When our spirt is brought before God upon the end of our temporal lives, this judgement spoken of in Hebrews is the determination of our eternal destination for the remainder of our existence. That remainder is forevermore!
Eternally we will exist in either heaven, because we have made a choice to accept the gift of salvation through the grace he offers us. An existence where we will thrive in unmitigated joy and unity with our creator. Or, play out an eternity, separated from God as we have chosen, in unbelievable torment and punishment.
Life as We Know It
These eternal realities are key to our consideration of our current activities and purpose. Without understanding and acknowledgement of these realities, it leaves us without the requisite information needed to deliberate our eternal consequence.
If we only consider that which is physical, we handicap our decision-making ability. It is impossible to make rational choices, if part of our full existences isn’t part of our rationale.
This has a critical impact on the choice we make to submit to God, that which is God’s; our entire being and accept his gift of salvation through grace; a condition of incomprehensible love joy and peace. Or we refuse the gift of God, which condemns us eternally to separation and anguish we cannot possibly understand the depth of. Not only suffering beyond our imagination but also beyond our comprehension.
This judgment is the result of how we choose to react to the Word of God given to us. We can’t properly evaluate both the temporal and eternal state of our being, because without the Word of God we don’t have a clue about where we go after this physical body dies.
The next thing about ‘life as we know it’, is we have no idea when our temporal lives will conclude. We can do all the ‘right’ things to prolong our lives only to have some circumstance not of our own direction, cut that life short. Be that a natural disaster, accident of on unintended consequences, or something that has blind-sighted us from an impending danger; we have no real control over our longevity.
Even more staggering is that despite the lack of these interruptions to life and our adherence to everything that would prolong life, physical death is inevitable.
If the first two elements (Eternal humanity & reality of heaven and hell) have drawn us to conclude that a relationship with the creator is in our best interest; should this not radically change the urgency and desire for us to help others understand the full circumstances, in both the temporal and eternal sense, so they might make an informed choice in their eternal destination?
It is only reasonable to consider heaven and hell are real and we are really eternal beings. There will be a judgement upon the end of the temporal, and then we will be judged on the choice we make while in our temporal state.
Jesus has made a propitiation for our sin, because we are unable to work our way to God’s grace. That grace must be imparted to us by a loving savior who paid our debt so we might be free of sin and able to stand righteous before God at our judgement.
In the Grace of Jesus!