Thoughts of Home
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 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?” (vv. 1–2).- John 14:1–3
We have been wrapping up our yearlong study of the Old Testament Wisdom Books this month, and several of our studies have considered the reality of final judgment, the ultimate deliverance of the righteous, and the everlasting destruction of the wicked (Prov. 11:21, 23; 4:16; Eccl. 12:13–14). These are salvation-related issues, and the Wisdom Literature—indeed, all of Scripture—is able to make us wise for salvation so that we escape hell and enjoy God’s heavenly presence forever (2 Tim. 3:15). Having concluded our study of the Wisdom Literature, we will now spend the last few days of the year looking at what the entire Bible says about salvation. Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching series Heaven will serve as our guide.
Without a doubt, biblical Christianity emphasizes the doctrine of heaven. Even critics recognize this, often ridiculing Christians for having a “religion that is so heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.” Sadly, some believers have given them reason to think such a thing. It is possible to talk a lot about heaven without doing much for people who are suffering here and now. But a focus on heaven at the expense of alleviating the pain of others reflects a distorted understanding of heaven. A right focus on eternal life encourages us to lovingly serve our neighbors, since the biblical teaching on heaven tells us that Jesus rewards those who serve others in His name (Matt. 25:14–30). We know that doing good does not get us into heaven—that is by grace alone through faith alone—but we know good works increase the blessings we experience in heaven.
Our Savior saw heaven as so important that He gave extended teaching on the subject in His final discourse before His death. As we look to today’s passage, we note that the first thing He tells His disciples is not to be troubled but to believe in God and in His Son (John 14:1). Belief in the promises of God through Christ determines our final destiny, so it makes good sense for Jesus to begin with a call to faith. His words assume the faithfulness of our Creator. If He were unfaithful, His promises of an afterlife would be untrustworthy, but since God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9), no believer should be troubled at the prospect of death. He has shown Himself true to His promises of salvation in Christ Jesus, so there is no need for us to think that death is the end. Jesus has come; He has been raised; and He has gone on to prepare a place for us. Therefore, we know that He will keep His promise of heaven (John 14:2).
God is faithful and His Word is sure, so we need not fear that anything awaits believers after our deaths except heaven. Jesus sees our final dwelling with Him as so important that He has gone on before us to prepare this home for us. Ultimately, heaven will come to earth at the final resurrection and we will dwell with Him in a new creation forever (Rev. 21). But all Christians who die before this judgment are ushered into Christ’s immediate presence in heaven (Phil. 1:21–23).
Passages for Further Study
1 Corinthians 3:10–15