Heaven is for Real, Part 2

    04.27.14 | Eternity Pop Culture by Will Pareja

    What would it be like to go right up to a bare cash register free of the temptations to spend more or splurge? Quite unlikely because pleasure sells, and companies exist to profit by pleasing you. And if the pleasure brings the added benefit of security, all the better.

    Se•cu•ri•ty

                The state of feeling safe, stable and free from fear or anxiety.

     

    Nowadays, it seems as if heaven—eternal security—is being sold to us as well. The market abounds with stories of people going to heaven (or hell) and back and living to tell about it. What should the discerning Christian think about the preponderance of such literature? The first tool in discerning extra-biblical tales about heaven is: think from and act upon what God has said not on what he hasn’t. This requires knowledge of what God has actually said in the Bible (see Deuteronomy 29:29).

    [See Part 1 Here]

    The second tool is: Scripture is the divine authority over human experience. The Apostle Peter reflecting on his experience of seeing Jesus transfigured says this in his second letter: “So we have a prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it as a lamp shining in a dismal place” (2 Peter 1:16-21). The Apostle Paul in recounting his celestial visit twice said “God knows” indicating that the things he “heard were inexpressible” and “no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:3-4). Even if someone had such an experience, they are better left with God.

    In other words, we don’t need Hollywood or Penguin Books to assure us that heaven exists. The Bible is our “supreme court” on all issues of life and eternity. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s party, but Scripture ought to interpret our own experiences no matter how unique and “out of this world they are.”

    Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney in their biographical work on Jonathan Edwards encourage us: “If we do not let the biblical testimony on heaven and hell play in our minds, it will surely rest lightly on our hearts, causing us to lose sight of the monumental vision the Lord gave us of the age to come.”

    So, tread heavily, then, into God’s Testimony of his land.