I had a conversation recently with my wife and her brother, and somehow we got to talking about how there are certain “trademarks” that just make home, well, home. They’re from Durban, South Africa and whenever they would go on vacation they would see who could spot the ocean first. For me, every time I travel, I look forward to returning and seeing those heights of the Rocky Mountains, which were so aptly described as “purple mountains’ majesty!” We also discussed how certain flavors and foods will always bring that feel of home. In my travels to other countries, though I find foods that I enjoy, nothing ever comes close to my mom’s cooking because nothing reminds me more of the safety and comfort of my home than my mom’s cooking.
This conversation got me thinking about my heavenly home. For the Christian, we are born again into a new family, with new aromas, spices, flavorings and landmarks. These defining qualities are described and pointed out to us by the Spirit through the Word, and we would do well to gain a familiarity with them.
However, our human nature is disposed to love this world and the things of this world (1 John 2:15). It is comfortable to us; it’s flavors agree with our palate, it’s odors are familiar, it’s sights unmistakable. But the comfort we enjoy, while dead in our trespasses and sins, is no comfort at all. It is the sort of comfort that morphine brings to a man bleeding out on a battlefield; the drug won’t stop the bleeding, it will only numb him to his death, even as he perishes. The sad reality is, for the wicked, the only abode they’ve ever known is a grave. The only sight they’re familiar with is darkness. The only flavor they’ve tasted is formaldehyde. The only smell they’ve smelled is rottenness and decay.
When we are born again (that is: resurrected into His life), by faith in Christ, the light dawns upon us and we see that we are in a grave and all the pleasures we once enjoyed (like gnawing on rotten bones) become repugnant to us. We forsake them, because we see! New visions alight upon our retinas, or as Henry Law so well stated “The Spirit wins by charming notes. He opens ears to hear new melody. He gives the eye to see new scenes. He reveals Christ— the beauty of all beauty. He shows the cleansing blood—the sympathizing heart—the perfect refuge—the all-sufficient aid. These sights wave a transforming wand. A new affection subjugates the man. Jesus and purer hopes now occupy the mind. Darkness is passed. The true light shines.”
Suddenly, we hunger for the pure milk of the Word, which becomes bread to us (John 6:58), sweeter than honey to us (Ps. 19:10), meat to us (John 6:55)! We long to behold Christ alone, through His Word and in His Work (i.e. creation). We drink the living water. We find our dwelling place to be the Secret Place of the Most High (Ps. 91:1). The Christian is one who is restless while upon earth; for though we are upon this earth, our citizenship is a heavenly one. The landmark that makes the Christian most at home is Christ. Where Christ is seen, glorified, cherished and loved is where the saint finds comfort, ease, and joy.
This mindset is crucial. If we as Christians merely try to “bide our time” until we die and go to heaven, we will be miserable. Heaven begins where Christ is. The Scriptures marvelously declare, that for those who are born again all things are theirs. Meaning, wherever I am, I am at home, for Christ is my abode, and He will never forsake me; so, if should I go to the ocean depths or the mountain heights or even a prison cell, He is present, and there is the believer’s joy and gladness. Here are a few of the many declarations that are made in Scripture:
Matthew 5:5 KJV – Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
1 Corinthians 3:21 KJV – Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours.
Romans 4:13 KJV – For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 8:32 KJV – He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Revelation 21:7 KJV – He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Those dead in their sin, are not just imprisoned (though this would be an accurate metaphor), they are indeed dead, inanimate, lifeless . . . though there is a seeming enjoyment of worldly pleasures, they are dead while they live. Those who die in their deadness, get nothing. But for those who are born again, all things become a cherished reminder of the glory and joy found in Christ. Just as Gimli cherished three strands of Galadriel’s hair, the believer cherishes every blade of grass, every speck of dust, every galaxy, and every man, beast and angel not because it is precious on its own merit (Job 15:15), but because it came from Christ (Rev. 4:11).
This is why Heaven is properly called the everlasting home of the Saints. Heaven is heaven because Christ is there. The pantheist believes God is everything; which is blasphemy. The truth is, God is present everywhere, and everything was created to be a tribute unto His matchless worth. Thus, dear saints of God, love not the world; or to put it another way, do not be fond of field trips to the graveyard. We are free to roam the universe with eyes wide open to behold the glories of our God. Are you familiar enough with Him that every meal, every flower, and every song, story, and star is a means to cherish Him? We must be wary, however, that we do not mistake the gift for the Giver; and we ought to be doubly wary of the false light of Satan. He likes to give gifts too. His gifts, however, are laced with poison. God’s gifts are life, and health and peace; because He will not give us anything that will bring us greater joy than He can. Thus, our everlasting home is not so much a place (it is a place) as it is a Person. Where He is, is where we find our rest, for He alone is the “man of rest (1 Chron. 22:9).”