3 minute read

Heaven: Why It Doesn’t Matter

By Rev. George Borghardt

Well, maybe it matters a little bit, but not nearly as much as you’d think. It’s not like you have to try to get to heaven or like there is any doubt about you being in heaven. Heaven is yours in Christ. In Christ, heaven is a done deal.

Of course, you already know that the absolute last thing you want to do is try to get to heaven. Such trying can only land you in hell. Try harder, run faster, work more, give up this sin, or that sin, read more, do more—these are all good things to do. You should strive to be better in this life. But doing those things won’t save you. Jesus says,“Whoever seeks to save His life loses it” (Matthew 16:25a).

“But whoever loses His life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:25b). Trying to get yourself to heaven, you’ll find yourself in hell. To find life, to be saved, you must lose your life. That leaves you nothing but Christ as your life! He won eternal life for you—that’s heaven for sure—on the tree. Everything, every reason you or even God could think of, that could possibly keep you out of heaven, He has taken away and nailed it to the Cross.

Jesus died. He was buried. You were buried with Him in Baptism. He rose.You too were raised up with Him through faith “in the working of God who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). Your life, the life that you live every day, is now hidden with Christ in God.

In God and with Christ—that’s where you are! Wherever He is, there you are—by faith. Jesus is in heaven; you’re in heaven too. You are with Him. This means that not only are you in heaven by faith, but you are at the very right hand of God! Where else could you be? After all, with Jesus at the right hand of God, you must be there too!

That’s for sure because all that Jesus won for you, all that He earned for you, is given to you freely in your Baptism. Have you ever considered that the entire kingdom of heaven was delivered to you in Baptism? It was!

You know those pearly gates of heaven you’ve heard about? They are now yours in Baptism. The streets of gold? Yours in Baptism too. That pure river of living water flowing from the throne? Already there by faith! The Tree of Life and the Throne of the Lamb? There already too! “When Christ who is your life appears, you will appear also with Him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). It is as certain as your Baptism.

Sure, you can lose heaven.You can decide to run from God, deny your Baptism, live in your sins, and, therefore, die in your sins. But why on earth— or better—why in heaven would you want to do that? You are baptized.

Don’t get me wrong. Heaven should be a great comfort for you. When times are bad, you can look forward to heaven with the certainty that can only come through faith. When you are suffering, remember there is a place where suffering is no more. When you are sick, remember that there is a place where there is neither sickness nor death. When you are wearied by the temptations of this world, remember that there is a place where there is no more sin or hell—only life in the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world, slain for you.

So, does heaven matter? Not as much as you’d think.What matters most is that you are in Christ. He is in heaven. Because He is there, you’re already there by faith and will be there for sure when He appears.

There is nothing worth comparing To this lifelong comfort sure! Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure. Though my flesh awaits its raising, Still my soul continues praising: I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise! (HS 98, 844:5)
Rev. George F. Borghardt III is the assistant pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, T exas and a member of the editorial board of Higher Things. His email address is revborghardt@sanctus.org. Check out his blog at http://blo g.higherthings.org/borghardt/.