At Work & Theology 101

Why Heaven Is Not Our Home

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Despite all the New Testament references to the Kingdom, most evangelical Christians today have no idea that their daily work has anything to do with the Kingdom of God.

Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute,  in his book Heaven Is Not My Home argues that the escapist attitude of many American Christians has been shaped by a false eschatology which teaches that our eternal destiny is in heaven. In this viewpoint, our salvation is like a one-way bus ticket to heaven, and the earth is only a bus stop. It does not really matter what we do while we wait for the bus.

As theologian, and my friend, Richard Pratt often says,

We think that Jesus came to forgive our sin, make our souls sparkle, to sprinkle us with peace and joy so we can sprout wings when we die, grab a harp and join the eternal choir.

The Scriptures teach a different reality. Heaven is actually the bus stop!

There after our earthly death God’s people await the return of the King who will consummate the Kingdom which he inaugurated at his first coming. Then he will fulfill the Biblical promise of a new heavens and a new earth. Again Paul Marshall writes, “our destiny is an earthly one: a new earth, an earth redeemed and transfigured. An earth reunited with heaven, but an earth, nevertheless.”

If the Kingdom of God is here and now in this present age, then what is our purpose in that Kingdom? Jesus told his followers, “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13, 14). God has delivered each of His children out of death into life and out of darkness into light—for a reason.

Trevin Wax, the managing editor of the Gospel Project, writes in his excellent article on the Gospel Coalition,

Today, if we are to be true citizens of God’s Kingdom, our obedience to Christ must touch every area of our lives. Confessing with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord” does not affect only our church life and a few spiritual habits here and there. As Kingdom people, we must be actively spreading God’s reign into every segment of society, influencing the world by bringing God’s love and grace to all, whether it be through the arts, through business, through politics or through our vocations.

As we believe, repent, and enter into the Kingdom in this age, our lives become a witness to the way things could be, a signpost pointing to the way things will be in the new heaven and new earth.

Question: Have you thought of Heaven as your destination? What does it mean to your daily life that Earth is where the Kingdom of God will be established? Leave a comment here.

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  • SundayAkintayo

    When Paul speaks in Philippians 3 of being “citizens of heaven,” he doesn’t mean that we shall retire there when we have finished our work here. He says in the next line that Jesus will come from heaven in order to transform the present humble body into a glorious body like his own. Jesus will do this by the power through which he makes all things subject to himself. This little statement contains in a nutshell more or less all Paul’s thought on the subject. The risen Jesus is both the model for the Christian’s future body and the means by which it comes.
    Colossians 3:1–4 and Romans 8:9–11 further buttress the point that Heaven is not our home.
    Paul wrote: If the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus the Messiah, dwells in you,then the one who raised the Messiah from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies as well, through his Spirit who dwells in you. God will give life, not to a disembodied spirit, not to what many people have thought of as a spiritual body in the sense of a nonphysical one, but “to your mortal bodies also.”
    For clearer understanding for people that want to have a contrary view of “Heaven is not our home” Jesus reaffirms the widespread Jewish expectation of resurrection in the last day, and announces that the hour for this has already arrived. It is quite explicit: “The hour is coming,” he says, “indeed, it is already here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, and those who hear will live; when all in the graves will come out, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

    • Well put. This is why the apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Our great hope as Christians is in the final resurrection, and we know that our hope is not in vain because Christ was raised from the dead on the third day…

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