When Kathy and I were getting close to our wedding day, we had a conversation about what should be the theme of our wedding – and for that matter – our life together as husband and wife. We could think of no better verse than Micah 4:5: “Though all the peoples walk each in the name of his gods, as for us, we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.” At the time, we both felt strongly that that verse described how we wanted to build our life – and whatever family God would give us – on the foundation of walking in the name of Yahweh our God.
But as time has gone forward, I have been thinking about the words “forever and ever.” Now I know that we will not be married in eternity. Jesus was quite clear on this matter. In Matthew 22:30, He said, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Marriage is a temporary matter – designed only for life here. What I have in mind is that for both Kathy and I, we will walk in the name of the LORD – the God of the Bible – forever. I want some partnership with her, for the glory of Christ, in eternity. What we committed our lives to here will never cease. As I say that, I am reminded of a conversation I had with my father as he lay on his deathbed.
We were talking about heaven, and our conversation ranged over a number of topics. At one time, he told me that he would love to take one more hike in the mountains. Dad loved the mountains of western British Columbia. I said to him, “Dad, in the world to come, I want to hike the mountains with you.” He smiled. The reason I mention my wedding vows and the deathbed of my father is because I know the promises God has made to me are altogether enduring. Forever and ever. Nothing of importance is lost to the believer in death. Can I say that again?
Nothing of importance is lost to the believer in death.
Let us remember some of the things that death cannot take from a believer.
1 Death cannot take away your essential humanity. In Job 19:26, Job says, “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” What a glorious biblical truth it is that Christ will raise our bodies, and that our resurrection body will be like Christ’s. Indeed, we will forever have our body – only it will be an imperishable body. But there is more to our humanity, which is the image of God in us. This includes our ability to think, reason, feel and experience the full range of human emotions, to enjoy friendship, to have memories. We frequently have questions about heaven like “will we remember our life on earth?” We need to understand that heaven is not like the belief in reincarnation, where you come back but cannot remember your past life. Rather, memories are a part of our humanity, and are an important part of continuity.
How, for instance, are we to worship Christ who died for us when we cannot remember for what He died? If memories are a part of who we are at the core, then I do not think they can be taken away. But what about memories of our sins and failures when we are in heaven? Do we want to remember those? I think that, without our minds clouded by sin, we will remember with redeemed thinking. Whenever we think of past sins while on earth, we will marvel at the grace of Christ. What else will death not take from us? (continue on to Part 2)
APPLICATION: When you think about eternity, do you worry that you’ll “lose out” on the life you had while on earth? Let us begin to reorient our minds to the awesome reality that we will lose nothing of importance when we die.
NOTHING OF IMPORTANCE IS LOST TO THE BELIEVER IN DEATH.
Dr. John Neufeld
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