Introduction– A recent Gallop poll found that 66% of Americans believe in heaven. However, only 26% Baptists, 20% Lutherans, 16% Methodists, and 41% Catholics thought their chances of going to heaven were good. Do they understand the principles of salvation? Review Ephesians 2:8-9. It is not by good works that you will obtain salvation, but by God’s grace. It appears that many Americans believe that they will get to heaven on their own merits.
Heaven is God’s dwelling place– Read 2 Chronicles 30:27. Under King Hezekiah, the priests stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place. Psalm 11:4-6 The Lord is still in his holy temple: he rules from heaven. Psalm 14:2-3 The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God (similar message to Romans 3:10). Psalm 33:13 From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth. Psalm 103:19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 2 Peter 1:15 We (as told by Peter, one of the disciples) did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”
Jesus is at God’s right hand in heaven– Ephesians 1:19-23 God’s great power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he extended in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Psalm 110:1, Revelation 3:21
When will believers go to heaven? The moment we take our last breath on earth we take our first in heaven. We are absent from the body and immediately present with the Lord. Then in God’s timing we will receive our glorified bodies at the Second Coming of Christ. Luke 23:43 Jesus told the repentant thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” In Philippians 1:21, Paul declared, “I desire to depart and be with Christ.” 2 Timothy 4:18 Near his death, Paul said, “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.”
More wonderful facts about heaven in Part 2 coming next time!