The Bible talks much about eternity. There are only two places in eternity—heaven or hell. Having read the Scriptures that describe hell, it is not fun, nor will it be exciting. It is not a continuous party with booze, drugs, and sex. It is eternal torment. What could be worse than spending eternity in a dark, hot, stinking, and excruciatingly lonely place forever and ever and ever?
2 Peter 3:9 says this, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
It should be overwhelming to any thinking human being that perfect God who could spend eternity anyway He chooses wants to spend it with us. He knows all the junk and garbage that we have inside of us, all the wrong things we have thought or done, and He still loves us and wants to be with us forever. He wants to lavish His eternal blessings on us. Even if we know we deserve hell, God doesn’t want us there. He wants us with Him, in the place He has prepared for us—heaven. What an absolutely, incredibly, totally awesome God we serve!
Revelation 21:5-8 says this, “And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making all things new!' And then he said to me, “Write this down for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give the springs of the water of life without charge! All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children. But cowards who turn away from me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars—their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.”
Many of us have been cowards, denying our faith at times in our lives. We struggle with unbelief. We have corrupt thoughts. Immorality is so common in this culture many have forgot it is sin. The practicing of witchcraft and worshiping anything but God is sin. Lying is a sin; little ones or big ones. So who gets to heaven?
It isn’t what we have done that keeps us from heaven! It is what we do with Jesus Christ that keeps us from heaven. God knew we couldn’t be perfect. Adam and Eve blew it and if any of us had been there we would have blown it too.
We can only come into right standing with a perfect God because Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the cross for us! Romans 3:22-24 says it this way, “We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.”
In 1 John 3:8-10 we are told more, “...but when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. ...Anyone who does not obey God’s commands and does not love other Christians does not belong to God.” Those who don’t turn their lives over to Jesus and continue deliberately sinning go to hell.
According to the words of the Bible, anyone who rejects Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is doomed to eternal wrath. Against God’s will He lets anyone choose to go to hell. It grieves God’s heart that people make this eternal choice of punishment. It has been said that the gates of hell are locked from the inside. We can choose to go in and lock the door not allowing God in. God honors our choice.
But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but Just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So it will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-44
Joni Eareckson Tada has this to say about these scriptures in her book, Heaven.
Have you ever seen those nature specials on public television? The ones where they put the camera up against a glass to show a dry, old lima bean in the soil? Through time-lapse photography, you watch it shrivel, turn brown, and die. Then, miraculously, the dead shell of that little bean splits open and a tiny lima leg-like root sprouts out. The old bean is shoved aside against the dirt as the little green plant swells. The lima plant came to life because the old bean died.
Not even a Ph.D. in botany can explain how life comes out of death, even in something so simple as a seed. But one thing is for sure: it’s a lima bean plant. Not a bush of roses or a bunch of bananas. There’s no mistaking it for anything other than what it is. It has absolute identity. Positively, plain as day, a lima bean plant. It may come out of the earth different than when it went in, but it’s the same. So it is with the resurrection body. We’ll have absolute identification with our body that died.