Pastor Ron Thompson: A Biblical View of Heaven, Part 3

A three – part series including studies from John MacArthur and David Jeremiah

Heaven is a perfect place because God is perfect. We are not perfect because of sin. Even after we are saved and made a new creation in Christ, we still have a sin nature, and we live in a sinful world. Paul expressed it in these words: “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? (Romans 7:4 NLT).”

However, in Heaven there will be no sin, no curse, no pain, sickness, or death that we face in this present world. We cannot begin to imagine what God has prepared for us in Heaven, but we get a taste of it while living on earth (I Cor. 2:9-10 KJV). Romans 8:22 NIV speaks of how the entire world is groaning because of sin but anxiously waiting for the Lord’s return. In Heaven we will be new like Jesus. God is working on us even now to make us like Jesus (Phil. 1:6 NLT). MacArthur says this process began at our conversion
(Col. 2:9-10 GW). We already have eternal life (Rom. 6:23 GW), but like Lazarus in his grave clothes we still have a body, sinful thoughts, and behavior. In Heaven we will be perfect (Rev. 6:11 NKJV). We are already saved from the penalty and power of sin, but in Heaven we will be saved from the presence of sin.

I know it is difficult to imagine being perfect in a perfect world. Here are some perfect
things we will have in Heaven: Perfect pleasure (Ps. 16:11 NIV), perfect knowledge (I Cor. 13:12 NLT), perfect comfort (Luke 16:25 KJV), perfect love (I Cor. 13:13 NKJV), and perfect joy (Matt. 25:23 NKJV).
Our resurrection bodies will be our earthly bodies, only glorified, just like Jesus’ was (I John 3:2 ESV). He could be touched, ate fish, and suddenly appeared from nowhere (Luke 24:36-43 NKJV). I Thess. 4:13-17 and I Cor. 15:51-55 are the principal passages about the resurrection. Remember, the Bible speaks primarily about the resurrection of the body, not some awakening from soul sleep. In Heaven we will have no wrinkles, blemishes, or allergies, only perfect bodies like our Savior’s.

Many earthly emotions, such as pain, tears, disease, and death will disappear. Marriage will pass away (Matt. 22:15-35 NLT) and be replaced with perfect relationships. We will not lose our identity in Heaven. David longed to see his baby in Heaven (II Sam. 12:23 NLT). We will see and enjoy fellowship with some of God’s choicest servants there (Matt. 8:11 NLT). In Heaven we will all see God face to face (Psalm 17:15; Matt. 5:8; Rev. 22:3-4 NLT).

I want to conclude this series with a brief discussion of angels, a popular subject today. According to MacArthur, a search for “angels” on Amazon yielded 80,000 results! Books, movies, and television programs are still popular forms of entertainment that the public consumes. Unfortunately, many people today believe in communicating with angels just as they communicate with the dead. We must remember that Satan has his helpers, and they appear as angels of light (I Cor. 11:13-15 NLT). I have read stories about angels protecting missionaries from danger, but it may be a case of ignorance, not realizing they are entertaining “angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2 NLT). More likely it is simply the protective hand of God at work. Either way, the credit belongs to the Lord, not His angels. Angels are created beings, not demons (Col. 1:16 NLT). Therefore, they are persons since they have intelligence and can communicate. They have emotions and rejoice over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10 NLT). They have a will as seen in Satan’s desire to rise above God (Isa. 14:13-14). Heb. 1:14 NIV says angels are “ministering spirits” implying that they have no bodies although sometimes they appear as humans (cf. Gen. 18 & 19).

When angels appear, they often cause fear as occurred in the case of Mary at Jesus’ birth (Luke 1:29 GW) and the shepherds in the fields (Luke 2:9 GW). The Bible does not go into detail as to how angels’ function. We know they are God’s emissaries from the Greek word angelos, meaning messengers. Angels also worship God constantly around His throne (Isaiah 6:3 TLB). The church will join with the angels in perpetual worship (Rev. 4:4 GW).

A beautiful song about Heaven is “Finally Home,” written by Don Wyrtzen. What a fitting
way to conclude our study together:

When engulfed by the terror of the tempestuous sea, Towering waves before you roll, At
the end of doubt and peril is eternity, Though fear and conflict seize your soul. But just
think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven Of touching a hand, and finding it God's
Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial Of WAKING UP IN GLORY, and finding it
HOME. When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night, Oh how lonely death can
be, At the end of this long tunnel is a shining light, For death is swallowed-up in victory.
But just think of stepping on shore, and finding it heaven Of touching a hand, and finding
it God's Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial Of WAKING UP IN GLORY, and
finding it HOME.

Pastor Ron E Thompson

Ron E. Thompson is a retired pastor/evangelist having had a ministry spanning over sixty years. He served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Virginia, Arizona, and South Carolina. As Director of Brethren Evangelistic Ministries, he held numerous evangelistic and revival crusades in twenty-two states. He led a team that conducted evangelism seminars throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. Ron is author of two books: Hurricane Evangelism and Sermons in Song. He is also a musician, having studied piano under noted composer-conductor, Hubert Tillery. Music has served him well as an avocation in his life and ministry. He currently is a pianist at the Fountain of Life Bible Church in Johnson City, TN. Ron received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater College and his Master of Divinity degree from Grace Theological Seminary. He did graduate studies at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham School of Evangelism. He attended the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in1994. Ron’s home is in Limestone, Tennessee. He is the father of two daughters: Evangeline Hales, a musician at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA and violinist with the Lynchburg Symphony; Dr. Melody Archer, Retired Administrator and Principal of Tri-Cities Christian Schools, Blountville, TN.

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