That Blessed Hope; the Eternal State…

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath his hope in him purifieth himself, even as he (God) is pure.” I John 3:2-3 (parenthetical mine)

The Scriptures tell us that “when he shall appear,” that something absolutely remarkable is going to occur… “He,” is the Lord Jesus Christ, appearing in his glorified, resurrected body, and we are told that in that moment that He returns “we shall be changed… (I Corinthians 15:52),” and we “shall be like him!” The English word here “changed” comes from the Greek word metamorpho, the same as our word “metamorphosis!” Though John makes it clear that “that it doth not yet appear what we shall be,” the Scriptures give us some insight into what our eternal state will be like…

First, our bodies will “be fashioned like unto his glorious body (Philippians 3:21).” During the forty days that Jesus walked the Earth after his resurrection, his disciples observed Him in His new body at length. From Scripture we know the following about that body:

• His body was the same, but yet different… Jesus’ possessed the physical body of a man as we understand it, but his features were different enough that they didn’t immediately recognize him except for the scars in his hands and feet, and side… Check this, your eternal body will be more perfect than Jesus’! Christ has elected to keep the scars of his crucifixion for all eternity as a testimony of what He has done for us. But your eternal body won’t have a blemish on it… not a scar, not a pimple, no trace of the Curse will be left!
• His body was not subject to the normal laws of physics… Jesus’ glorified body was able to go through solid wooden doors (John 20:19), teleport from one location to another (Luke 24:31, 36), and even fly (Acts 1:9)!
• In His glorified body, Jesus ate, walked, and communicated with His disciples. It was still a physical human body, but it had been forever changed… You are not going to spend the rest of eternity as an angel, or a disembodied spirit! We will have a very real, yet very perfect human body…

Second, the very state of our being will be changed. The Scriptures tell us that, “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4).” Somebody once said, “We are eternal beings have a temporal experience…” No one ceases to exist; we are made in the image of God, and therefore we are eternal beings. But our current lives under the Curse are constantly subject to pain and sorrow, and decay, and eventually death… But none of those things are part of the eternal state! “for the former things are passed away,” as God declares, “Behold, I make all things new (Revelation 21:4-5)!”

Third, and this may surprise you; we won’t be living in heaven! You may have heard that old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” But in reality, this World is indeed your home… The current Heaven is a resting place for Believers who have departed this world, but that Heaven is not a realm of physical beings in physical bodies… “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever (Ecclesiastes 1:4).” This planet we walk on will be made new, and every trace of the curse; every thorn, every bone, every grave, will be gone! The new Earth will be even more perfect than it was when it was first created, because on that Earth, there will not even be the possibility of sin! It will be the Earth as the Lord always intended it to be; perfect climate, perfect ecology, perfect people, living in perfect harmony with the God who made all…

Perfect physical beings living on a perfect physical Earth for eternity… But not static… I have heard people say, “I think Heaven will get boring after a while…” I ask them to describe what the New Earth would have to have for it to be “not boring.” After they ramble on a bit about eternal BBQ, fishing, and NASCAR, I tell them to spend a whole day imagining the best of what the New Earth could have… And then I remind them what God has promised us about that place, that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (I Corinthians 2:9).”

Spend the next day, week, or the rest of your life trying to imagine what life on that Earth will be like; you will never come close to what God has planned for us! The Scriptures speak of “the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7);” life will not be static! Just like there have been different ages in the past, so will there be into the future… Our God is a Being of infinite wisdom and creativity, who values love, beauty, diversity, pleasure, and joy! The eternal state will be many things, but it will never be boring…

Folks, life on this present Earth is hard; full of pain and suffering and travail… the purposes for such we will explore in another post… But know this; it is temporary! Believe in this; our suffering is not forever! The Scripture tells us, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… (Romans 8:18).” That is what Paul was trying to communicate to his protégé Titus and the Believers of all ages when he wrote that we should always be “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13)!”

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