Do you want to go to Heaven or Hell?
The question I ask in the title speaks to the way we often approach Christianity. We are quick to ask someone if they want to go to heaven or hell?
And once somebody understands what hell is, their obvious answer is that they would rather go to heaven—I think there would be very few people in the world that would willingly sign up for an eternity in hell.
Yes, it’s important to speak about heaven and hell—Jesus spoke about it a lot because He knew the severity of it and wanted to warn people of their destiny apart from Him.
And we, likewise, should warn people about this place of eternal misery that was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
The problem is if people never move past that—if they don’t, they have settled for fire insurance or a get out of hell free card.
Christianity is about so much more than staying out of one place and getting to go to another.
Do you want God or an eternity apart from Him?
Christianity is more about a person than a place.
Heaven is heaven because of who is there. If God was not there then heaven wouldn’t be heaven.
Read what these verses say about heaven.
Isaiah 60:18-20 New International Version (NIV)
18 No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. 19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Revelation 22:4-6 New International Version (NIV)
4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.
God is the light-giving, peacemaking, healing, ruling, glorious being. And His presence is what makes heaven, heaven.
So if the presence of God is what makes heaven, heaven, not having His presence there would mean the opposite—Hell.
When you have repented, trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, the Holy Spirit has come to live in you, and you have been able to experience what life in Christ is like, even just the feeling of being apart from God feels like Hell.
We see this clearly in Romans 1.
Romans 1:24-25 New International Version (NIV)
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
It’s the hand of God that keeps me and you from degrading into pursuing evil to its full extent.
So is your desire to be with God and enjoy him forever or simply to go to a glorified earth where you get to enjoy the same things you’re getting to enjoy here just without suffering, pain, evil, and taxes?
It should be about more because there is so much more.
Our pursuit after salvation should not be to simply tough it out until we get to heaven or try to make heaven on earth.
Instead, it should be a daily pursuit of desiring God.
Now, let me ask you that question again: heaven is going to be amazing but would you still go there if God was not there?