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When is Heaven? (Luke 17:21)

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you (or alternatively - "the kingdom of God is within you” ) - Luke 17:20-21

"Am I going to heaven when I die?"

This is a question perhaps millions of people ask each day.

Of course we should expect non-Christians to experience anxiety over this question. After all, Jesus Christ is the only way to peace with God. Outside of Jesus there can be no true hope nor present confidence of eternal salvation.

But the real question is why so many Christians wonder where they are going after they die.

This reveals a fundamenrtal misunderstanding of the gospel.

The genuine Christian does not need to wonder if he will go to heaven after he dies because it is not a matter up for debate. It has been settled on the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago.

Of course apostasy is a real thing, and at any point a Christian can renounce his faith and decide he does not want to live eternally with God. But it is only a person who has never truly tasted the goodness of God to begin with who could ever even imagine doing such a thing.

We will all be judged by our works (Matt 16:27, 2 Cor 5:10, Rom 2:6) but for the true follower of Christ, these works will determine the measure of rewards he will receive in the life to come rather than whether or not he will "make it to heaven."

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life - 1 John 5:13

We are supposed to know if we have eternal life.

It's not guess work.

The fullness of what Eternal Life is, of course, is something looked ahead to. We will not know the full glory of God until we are fully delivered from our mortal bodies and experience glorification.

But that we have Eternal Life is something we are able to have assurance of.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory - Eph 1:13-14

The follower of Christ is able to have this assurance, this guarantee, because Eternal Life for him is not something he will someday experience, it is something he is already experiencing.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit - Rom 14:17

One who has been born again (John 3:3) experiences Heaven in his spirit even while his body remains on Earth.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus - Eph 2:6

The great saints of the Church have endured the most gruelling hardships in their outer man, while their inner man retained perfect peace and joy. This is what we are all called to.

Whether or not we will accept the call is up to each of us.

photo from christina vidal/@jetsetchristina

Now this is eternal life,

that they may know You, the only true God,

and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent

John 17:3

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