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making the connection | December 17, 2017

December 13, 2017

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” –C.S. Lewis

A new heaven and a new earth is where this is all headed ultimately. This is the hopeful expectation of every believer. So why do we try so hard to wring all the enjoyment we can out of this life? Heavenly peace is not possible when we only live for the things we want in the here and now.

Redemption is not an escape from our earthly life. It is reclamation of our earthly life. When Jesus died, God wasn’t done with His old body. His resurrection body was His old body made new. God is not done with these bodies or this earth. Our old bodies will be made new, and this old earth will be made new.

Christianity is almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body – which believes that matter is good, that God Himself once took on a human body, and that some kind of body is going to be given to us even in heaven. And that it is going to be an essential part of our happiness, our beauty, and our energy.

Our culture’s bucket-list mentality reveals a distorted view of redemption. We end up thinking, “If I can’t live my dreams now, I never will.” or “You only live once.” But if you know Jesus, you go around twice – and the second time lasts forever. It’s called eternal life, and it will be lived in a redeemed universe with King Jesus.

The typical view of heaven – eternity in a disembodied state – is not only completely contrary to the Bible, but it obscures the far richer truth; that God promises us eternal life as totally healthy, embodied people more capable of worship, friendship, love, discovery, work, and play than we have ever been.

The risen Christ said, “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones.” (Luke 24:39) The scars testified that His new body was the same old body made new. Likewise, we will be ourselves when we are raised. Without continuity between the old and the new, resurrection would not be resurrection.

C.S. Lewis sums it up nicely at the end of The Last Battle. “All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page. Now, at last, they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

Such is the vast and far-reaching redemptive plan of King Jesus. – adapted from a message by Randy Alcorn[1]

[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/c-s-lewis-on-heaven-and-the-new-earth-god-s-eternal-remedy-to-the-problem-of-evil-and-suffering

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