Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you would go to Heaven when you die. Go ahead. Read that sentence again.
“But, wait,” you say. “What about John 3:16?”
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.
“It says it right there. Jesus came so that I can live forever. Isn’t that about Heaven?”
Jesus also says in the same conversation that we must be born again. We must be made new. His life, death and resurrection destroys the power of sin in our lives. When we trust in His work, we are transformed. Our hearts are made new. We are born again. We go from death to life.
Don’t be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have transferred from death to life, because we love the brothers and sisters. The person who does not love remains in death. (1 John 3:13-14)
Jesus died on the cross so that the power of sin would be defeated in your life NOW. He died on the cross so that you can love as Jesus loves NOW.
Some of our favorite hymns we have grown up singing make this really hard to understand. Consider “I’ll Fly Away,” by Albert E. Brumley.
Some bright morning when this life is over I’ll fly away To that home on God’s celestial shore I’ll fly away
I’ll fly away, oh glory I’ll fly away in the morning When I die, Hallelujah by and by I’ll fly away
When you sing this hymn, do you think of Heaven, or do you think of your life now? I can almost guarantee that you think of Heaven. And yet, I think Jesus thinks of our death now. We are called to die to ourselves.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Our lives are to be over when we trust in the work of Jesus now. We are called to die to ourselves daily. It is no longer about my life but the life of Jesus living through me. It is about me loving as Jesus loves.
Do you see what can happen? The more we do this. The more we love as Jesus loves. The more other people will do this too, loving as Jesus loves.
Heaven becomes a reality here on Earth.
Blessings, Pastor Matt