What happens after we leave this earth? Working in the medical field, I see a lot of dying, a lot of death, a lot of incurable conditions or ailments people have to learn to manage. Everyone is searching for some sort of hope to keep them going. Sometimes, I see that hope dissolve in the realisation that they do not know what death holds. It breaks my heart. Life is fragile, and really, it can go at any time. There are tragedies everyday, and sometimes these are unexpected and sudden. What can we do about this? I believe there is a hope and an eternal reason to live found in Christ. We are citizens of earth for a time, but we can be citizens of heaven for eternity.
Earth – a temporary visit, and a treasure mine
We can think about life on earth in all sorts of ways. In one sense, we are sojourners on earth, having a citizenship in heaven.
[Philippians 3:20] – “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ”
Yet, we are citizens of heaven now if we have accepted God’s invitation of grace. His kingdom is here on earth and He did not mean for life on earth to be dull, monotonous or lackluster. No, life with God is life in His fullness according to His purposes and lived in the calling He has given. There is a purpose to live on earth and despite the challenges we might face, it is a treasure!
[Ephesians 1:3] – “Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
[John 8:12] –“The Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘”I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”
One treasure we can mine on earth is the love of God. It is neverending and every revelation of it gives us joy and confidence to live. Moreover, this love of God overflows in our lives and to those around us. I want more of it everyday. It reminds me of my identity – loved by God no matter what anyone else might think, no matter what circumstances might come my way. It reminds me of who God is – that He loves the world, and this spurs me on to live for the glory of God, that others might know the incredible love of God that gives us life.
[Ephesians 3:17-18] – “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Heaven – life with God magnified
We have all sorts of images of heaven and I love to imagine how it might look like – would it be earth but in the full glory that God made it to be? Would it be all golden and shiny like how people like to paint it? What is it like to have the Lamb of God as the light illuminating the whole city as Revelation describes? I don’t know how heaven will look like visually, but I know that after earth, there is a life with God that awaits those who know Him and who have accepted His free gift of salvation while still on earth.
Life with God gives us everything to look forward to, and nothing to be afraid of. If people I know die on earth knowing Christ, I know that they are in His arms. The focus becomes supporting those still living on earth. Without Christ, however, death is a scary prospect. It is something unknown, a judgement of rights and wrongs, a place we do not want to be. Without Christ, death really is the prospect of going to an eternity in hell, and that is something truly frightening.
In contrast, knowing that Christ has covered our transgressions with His righteousness at the cross, gives us a confidence and peace about death. We might leave our physical bodies on this earth, but we can never be separated from the God who loved us so much that He sent His only son to die for us.
[Hebrews 2:14-15] –“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
We have freedom from the fear of death in Christ. We have hope in living because of Him. Last Sunday, a guest speaker shared a fitting verse from [Philippians 1:21] – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Where are we going after our life on earth is done? Where is our life hidden? I have entrusted mine to Christ.