“ So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”–1 Corinthians 13:13
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus our Lord,
So, what will it be like in heaven, after our Savior has returned, raised us all from the dead, and safely sequestered us in the New Jerusalem?Well, let me tell you what will not be there.There will be no hope in heaven, or any faith either.
Now, that’s certainly a shocking thing to be confronted with on a Monday. But it is absolutely the truth! Heaven will be a place where hope and faith are not needed and, thus, will not be found there, at least in the way that we know them now. The reason for this is simple when you really think deeply about it. Hope exists only in this life. For the time being, we hope for those things that God has promised us, but that we do not see, nor have we experienced fully as of yet. And the same thing goes for faith. We also believe what we cannot see. As Hebrews 11:1makes clear, “ faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (NASB).
If we wanted to be a bit provocative, we could say that heaven is both ‘a hopeless and faithless place.’ And this is a good thing! There, all of our hopes will be realized in ways that we cannot comprehend today. And also there, all that we have believed in, the unseen things that God has assured us of, will be seen and experienced in the fullness of their eternal glory! So, faith and hope will not be necessary in the heavenly City of God.
But as for “ love,” well that’s another story altogether!
In the magnificent and much-treasured thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, we have the greatest expression of love ever set forth in human language. And among the many amazing things that the Apostle Paul says about love, we should not forget that among its dazzlingly beautiful attributes is its eternal nature. It abides in a way that even faith and hope do not. As Paul declares in verse 8, “ Love never fails.” And by this he really means “ never,” as in for all eternity!
Heaven, then, will be a place where the love of God is the essence of our existence, the heavenly ‘air’ we shall breathe for all eternity, and the one characteristic of our new home that stands above all others, far surpassing the splendor of the streets of gold and the twelve pearly gates (Revelation 21:21).
Of course, in heaven we will be with the One who is Love Embodied, and forever we shall gaze at His face. And there, in that most Holy City, we shall also experience an unhindered love for our fellow-redeemed and glorified brothers and sisters in Christ. Words simply cannot depict how wonderful this will be!
But we need to bring this blessed truth back down to earth just for a moment. This love, which shall endure for all time and eternity, is not a blessing that is known only in heaven, in the future. It is here now! We have it now! We share it now! And this means that as we love one another as Christ has loved us, we are bringing some of heaven’s eternal glory to this present lost and needy world. In other words, as we love one another, beginning in our own homes, and then radiating out to our fellow-believers in the Body of Christ, and then further out to the world at large, we are granting to love’s recipients a taste of heaven itself!
This means that if we are truly ‘heavenly minded,’ we will love others. Far from being detached from the world, and removed from those sinners who live with us here, a mind that is “ set on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2) will make itself known by our love for others on this side of eternity. When we love someone in this way, we are touching their lives with something eternal in nature. We are granting to them the highest blessing possible, the most priceless treasure of all, the very love of God in Christ Jesus!
Just think of how incredible this really is! This world, the devil’s playground and a place where hate seems to reign, is invaded by heaven every time we act in love! When we love, as commanded, we are attacking the very gates of hell. In the act of loving, we are tearing down the devil’s many strongholds, as the eternal Kingdom of Christ breaks in and takes men and women captive by a benevolent and alien power, that of our Father’s infinite love and mercy!
Let us never underestimate, downplay, or trivialize this love! For when we are “ patient,” “ kind,” not “ jealous,” not bragging, nor “ arrogant,” or acting “ unbecomingly,” and when we do not seek our own well-being, or find ourselves easily provoked, or making a record of the wrongs that we have suffered at the hands of others, or are rejoicing in “ unrighteousness,” love is powerfully released here and now!
So, if you want to do something really, really big today, something world changing, something that will make an eternal difference and will glorify your Farther, then love someone as your Savior has loved you! Let your Father use you to bring a little fraction of heaven’s glory and wealth to earth! Push back on hell’s power by the simple act of loving someone else in the name of Christ!
May our Father cause His love to fill our hearts today!
You are always my dearly beloved family, and I never cease praying for you all,