Only So That We Might Live With Him

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

One of the great truths the light of the gospel makes possible to see is that, for the Christian, Judgment Day holds only salvation. God did not choose us and call us to faith so that on the last day he could still take his anger at sin out on us. He sacrificed his Son and brought us to faith to guarantee us a place in heaven.

Some have questioned the wisdom, or even the truthfulness, of that promise. If people aren’t kept in fear of Judgment Day, they believe, they will feel free to live a wicked life. But is that true? Do people have to be held in fear of the end to get them to behave properly?

When I was in grade school my parents planned a family vacation to Disney World. As a child, there was nothing I looked forward to more. My parents invested a lot of time planning that vacation. They paid a lot of money to make it reality. Practically nothing I could do would have stopped it from happening.

Just because I knew it was “guaranteed” didn’t make me behave worse in the meantime. On the contrary, in my excitement over going I did a lot of positive things getting ready, not to make the vacation possible, but just because I was sure we were going.

Just because heaven is guaranteed, that doesn’t mean that we will stop taking the coming Judgment seriously. We approach it as children of the light. In our excitement over going, we are more likely to spend our time getting ready, not to make heaven possible, but just because we know we are going to go.

For most people, the term “Judgment Day” sounds like something dark. And that’s how it will be…if we belong to the darkness of unbelief. But this is also the day on which the full light of God’s glory is going to shine. It will be the first time for such light on earth since creation in all its majesty. The entire population of heaven is coming to the big event: saints and angels, our glorified Savior and his holy Father. Don’t be afraid for that day to come. We are only going home to live with him.

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