The Hope of Heaven

I’ve noticed that lots of Christians these days seem to downplay the hope of heaven, focusing on the earthly benefits and responsibilities of the faith, as if the afterlife is an unworthy motive or somehow beneath us. Not me!

I agree that Jesus Christ is not only in the business of saving souls but also of renewing a fallen creation. I agree that Christians are called to spread His kingdom here on the earth. I agree that too many of us have been AWOL concerning the great issues of the day (“so heavenly minded, no earthly good”). I agree that eternal life with Him starts right now by faith, not when we get to heaven. I agree that Christianity is about much more than simply avoiding hell and getting into heaven. I agree that the best thing about heaven is being with Christ, and there is no heaven without Him.

But in a dying universe without hope apart from the gospel, on a planet filled with lost and broken people, with criminals and tyrants who too often “get away with it,” where children die and murderers live, where death, disability, and disease grind us down, where relationships sometimes are torn apart beyond mending, where longings too deep for words sometimes interrupt the confident assurances of the materialists that “this is all there is and we have to make our own meaning” . . . .

I believe in the great city with 12 open gates, in my Father’s house where Jesus is preparing a place for me, in the pure water flowing from the throne of God, in treasures that cannot be lost and a crown that will never fade, in a land where righteousness dwells and where the sun and moon are no longer needed, and in a place without tears or pain.

I believe in heaven!

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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