Having briefly considered hell, the destiny for those who die in their sins, we will today begin a short study of heaven. Using the teaching series Heaven by Dr. R.C. Sproul, we will now look at what happens to all those who, like Sarah, die in faith (Heb. 11:13).
It would be impossible to understand the content of Christianity with any accuracy without mentioning the blessed reward awaiting all those who follow the Savior. Heaven is so important to the faith that opponents of Christian teaching have derisively said we have a “pie in the sky” religion so “heavenly minded that it is no earthly good.” Unfortunately, some believers are so focused on the afterlife that they do little to alleviate the suffering of others here and now. Of course, these misunderstand how we should prepare for heaven. All those who truly look forward to eternal life will do many good works here on earth because they know our service for God’s kingdom in the name of Jesus increases our reward (Matt. 25:14–30).
The comforts of modern society help us to ignore the glories awaiting us first in heaven, and then in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 21). However, Jesus considered this reward important enough to include it in His Farewell Discourse in John 14, which reminds His disciples of their place in His Father’s heavenly home.
Before speaking of heaven, Jesus calls His disciples not to be disturbed. Instead, He tells them to believe in God and in His Son (v. 1). It is necessary for the Savior to begin here, because belief in the promises of God and the Christ is the determining factor for whether or not a person can expect to see heaven. If God is unfaithful, there could be no hope of any life after our last breath. The disciples could not be anything but troubled at the death of Jesus if no sovereign Lord exists. But since God is real, death cannot be the end of the story, and we need not fear. This is the point Jesus is making.
The Father’s existence and Christ’s trustworthiness is the basis for our belief in heaven. Our hope for future blessing is not groundless; it is established by the Almighty Himself. Because we can trust Jesus, we know He is preparing a place for us in heaven (v. 2).