Jun P. Espina         14 min read
Updated on February 14th, 2020
One good news we love to listen again and again is that we will be heavenly residents assuredly in the hereafter because of Jesus Christ. Paul, the apostle, wrote about it: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil 3:20) It does not matter if one had been living the life of a thief or a murderer for a long time before one followed our Lord. It does matter if one is a stick-in-the-mud sinner because all human beings in heaven since time began were true blue sinners irrespective of the weight of their wickedness and age level at death. Don’t get me wrong—continue reading, please!
One good news we love to listen again and again is that we will be heavenly residents assuredly in the hereafter because of Jesus Christ. Paul, the apostle, wrote about it: ‘For our citizenship is in heaven.
God’s offer of free forgiveness of sin (also called the FREE salvation of our souls from hell) can only work out with those who are NOT upright deep down. If you think you are righteous, even saintly and choir-guy looking, then you won’t need a Savior (you won’t need Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the sinful human race), right? In Romans 3:23, however, we are taught that “we are all sinners” and that “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE.” (Rom. 3:10) Therefore, all peoples on earth are sinners since our hearts tell God that we indeed are. For the sake of divine love, Christ condescended, became flesh like us to save us from the penalty of sin which is the second death in hell. And this great deliverance from God’s judgment is only had by faith in God the Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s offer of free forgiveness of sin (also called the FREE salvation of our souls from hell) can only work out with those who are NOT upright deep down. If you think you are righteous, then you won’t need a Savior, right?
Wrote the apostle Paul: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8) Christ ransomed our souls through the shedding of His blood as a sin-offering — “while we were yet sinners.”
The Chosen Ones in Christ by Faith Would Become Heavenly Residents
The teaching that salvation belongs only to the real sinners was elaborated by our Lord in Luke 5:32: “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” And in Mark 2:17, Christ gave another dimension to His doctrine (in Luke that we just mentioned): “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Christ’s heaven has been the very home of the thief — the one whom He met during His crucifixion — for over 2,000 years now. This thief received our Lord’s forgiveness and salvation completely after Christ’s declaration that “today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The case of the former harlot, Mary Magdalene, also confirms our faith that we will be heavenly residents assuredly in the hereafter not because we are sinless in this life but because we have received Christ’s forgiveness and salvation — we have been born of God since we believed in Christ Jesus as our only Lord and Savior. He died for our sins and rose from the grave. He is God the Son!
We are Children and Heirs of God and Heavenly Residents, Therefore, in the Hereafter
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. — Romans 8:16-18
We are God’s Own Possession—Heavenly Residents Beyond this Life
Why are we called heavenly residents beyond this life — how did we know our spiritual destination? Well, the only valid and biblical answer we can provide is that it was Christ’s promise to His true followers and disciples, the born-again Christians — “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:26) We are “A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9) We a God’s people who are living “out of the darkness” of superstition and idol worship “into His marvelous light.” We are not fake but real Christians and that is why have the hope of becoming a part of the heavenly residents after this life. Observe the following oft-quoted promises of Christ:
READ MORE: Earth Forever Peopled According to God
We will be Given New Bodies as Heavenly Residents When the Time Comes
Man is so lost that he couldn’t visualize the “things to come.” Teach him about the promised immortal body but he would never believe it. The apostle Paul said: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” (Rom. 1:21-22)
In short, we won’t believe that God has prepared for us a spiritual body and a real place called heaven because our “foolish heart was darkened.” That is why the key to understanding God’s revealed plan for our future in heaven is faith in the Holy Bible as the very Word of God. If you trust in Charles Darwin or Karl Marx or in plain atheism more than Christ, then it is your choice. As for me, I trust in the Holy Bible because it is about Jesus Christ and I believe that He is the Truth.
Not All Will be Heavenly Residents
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. — Romans 1:20-23
The Heavenly Residents and Their Spiritual Bodies
1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.
3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.
4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.
5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
— 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, NLT
Of Those Who Won’t Become Heavenly Residents: Where Would They be Spending Eternity?
Our passport to heaven is our genuine conviction that we are all sinners before God and that only our faith in Christ can we be cleansed “from all sin.” (cf. 1 John 1:7) We may appear righteous outwardly, but inwardly we are not, based on God’s standard. Yes, in this life, Mr. Perfect is a myth. Our tendency thus is to choose what is wrong. All media of communication, for example, are one in recording and broadcasting man’s sinful nature—24 hours a day! This godless, idol-worshipping and lost soul of ours requires forgiveness—and only faith in Christ can do that. Or, we couldn’t become heavenly residents. We could only spend eternity in the house of God as a forgiven sinner—never as a self-righteous and Christ-rejecting sinner!
READ MORE: Blood Gives Eternal Life
In Matthew 10:28, our Lord Jesus Christ taught us that we could send our soul and spiritual body to hell forever. “Do not fear those who kill the body,” Christ was discussing the future of our spiritual body, “but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
We are taught by Christ to FEAR GOD, HIS WORD, and HELL. It is our human responsibility after hearing the Word of God. Wrote the apostle John that, “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John 1:9) This Light is Jesus Christ, and He enlightens every man. It is the meaning of God’s grace. Christ is the Light, and He is helping each one of us to seek God, believe the Gospel and find salvation. Faith in Christ’s shed blood for the remission of sins rules the salvation of our soul. But even though Jesus died for us, He would not BELIEVE for us. We need to seek God’s face, listen to His Word, and then believe. God does not believe for us!
Therefore, if we couldn’t become heavenly residents (by choice!), then, our only option is to become residents of hell, the house of Satan, forever—for as long God lives! “These [spiritual body and soul] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous [those saved by trusting in the atoning blood of Christ] into eternal life.” —Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:46)
Christ came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” As heaven is a real place, so God is lovingly inviting all sinners to live there forever. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” said Christ in Revelation 3:20, “if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
Let’s be heavenly residents after this life by accepting Christ’s invitation:
Man’s Self-Righteousness: His ticket to Hell
Man’s self-righteousness (or the belief that he has the sufficient ability to discern right from wrong) prevents the good news about our becoming heavenly residents after this life to reach his heart. Such self-deception of acceptability in the house of God actually started in paradise when Eve trusted the devil’s promise that “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Since then man thinks he is a little god who knows what’s morally right or wrong!
Man’s Sinful Tendencies
We are naturally enslaved by our sinful inclinations, even though we are not actually sinning.“There is none righteous,” wrote the apostle Paul, “not even one…. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:10,23)
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17 And the path of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Have you heard of a man who was jailed for 50 years because of 50 cents? The teaching that man is naturally good until poverty turns him into a thief is unscriptural. Adam and Eve disobeyed God in paradise, not in a slum!
Man’s Natural Approval for What is the Devil’s
The Bible proves how sinful man is. For instance, Christ was hatefully rejected by the Jews after over 5,000 of them received free food by a miracle. Moses experienced the same thing after turning the sea into the dry ground to save over a million Israelites.
When God gave His people manna from heaven, they murmured for meat! That’s how lost we are. We love Barabbas, the murderer, more than Jesus, the Son of God. We love sin. “Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” (Rom. 1:32)
Man’s Need for Salvation from the Power of Sin
Born-again Christians understand that man has sinful tendencies. He loves to approve the things that are hateful in the eyes of God like the gay marriage and other practices that are foreign to the standards of Scriptural propriety. Sin attracts people more than the things that are considered biblically godly. God, therefore, requires that we repent and come to Christ by believing that He died as a sin-offering—as Savior of man’s sinful soul.
Of Those Who Desire to Become Heavenly Residents: What Must We Do?
God has a wonderful plan for all of us. Before His crucifixion, Christ said, “I go and prepare a place for you.” This place is called heaven, the eternal abode of God, which is also the saved man’s eternal home.
The Bible teaches that heaven is a city with foundations. It has gates, golden roads, a river, a tree, a throne for our dear Lord Jesus. Only forgiven sinners are allowed to live there forever!
Of Those Who Trust in Themselves More Than Christ
There are those who believe that they too have a place in heaven because of their good works. Cain was the founder of this sect that has evolved into various forms of “Goodworkism” (or saved by good works!). He offered unto God the fruit of his labors. But God rejected him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
“I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME” will be Christ’s rebuke for those who are self-righteous, who don’t need Jesus our Lord, the only Way to heaven—the only Savior of man’s soul!
Jesus came to save sinners. That’s why He couldn’t work with those who believe they’re sinless. Indeed, we’re one step closer to heaven if we’re convinced with all of our heart that while God is perfect, we are not.
Of God’s Invitation for Us to Become Heavenly Residents
Let us come to Christ in faith for the forgiveness of our sins which is the salvation of our soul from hell-judgment. “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon…. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Isaiah 55:7; Acts 16:31).
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. —Jesus Christ (John 14:3)
Of God’s Method or Plan for Us to Become Heavenly Residents
When Thomas raised the issue of finding the stairway to heaven, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). Taught Christ that He is all we need to live in God’s city forever. We are complete in Him. It is not even important where’s heaven, because we trust in His words: Where I am, there you may also be.
Heaven, according to some, is anything that gives emotional enjoyment like attending a concert or going out to the resorts. The biblical heaven, however, is God’s home. And the only way to get there is through faith in the atoning blood of Christ.
Since the dawn of time, man has been dreaming of a utopia, a perfect place in which to live. Jesus came with the good news of heaven which is real, not just a little utopia!
Repent and Believe or We Could not Become Heavenly Residents After this Life
But why do people continue to reject Christ and His gospel of eternal life in heaven? Because of man’s unbelief in the words of our Lord.
When heaven became Christ’s topic, He introduced it by saying: “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places…I go and prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2).
The Bible says, “man shall live by faith…. For by grace you have been saved through faith.” You may believe, however, in all of Christ’s promises on your way to hell. The “demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19b).
Real Faith, Not Mere Believism
Believism—or one’s insistence of faith without repentance—is prevalent among professors of Christianity but are not possessors of Christ. The kind of faith in Jesus, which sends a soul to heaven, is one that is imbued with the tears of repentance. To the woman who was caught in adultery, Christ said: “From now on sin no more.” (John 8:11).
READ MORE: Human Responsibility to Believe in Christ
After talking at length on the subject concerning faith in Christ, one TV evangelist ended his sermon by encouraging his viewers to continue serving their wooden gods and doing their neo-pagan rituals. He stressed on entering heaven with the Bible on the one hand, and the much-beloved idols, on the other. How the devil uses false preachers today!
Real Faith, Not Predestination or Hyper-Calvinism
The hyper-Calvinists believe in one’s predestination either to heaven or hell. But is it not our teaching since we have the human responsibility to believe in Christ. Some said that God is the cause of one’s believing. True, the Holy Spirit is wooing us all to trust in Christ for our salvation. The followers of Christ are instructed to preach the Gospel to the whole world. One can, however, resist and reject God’s goodness and grace for one to be saved. In Matthew 23:37, Christ said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” Predestination is a false teaching since some are unwilling to live in heaven forever — resisting God’s grace, so to speak.
From the Internet, I found the following argument against hyper-Calvinism: “A friend of mine was holding a meeting in another locality. He was invited for supper along with the local preacher, who during the course of the dinner remarked something to the effect of; ‘Anytime a preacher preaches on grace these days I immediately suspect him of trying to push Calvinism.’ What a sad state of affairs! Since when did Calvin invent ‘grace’? I thought the Bible had plenty of wonderful things to say about grace. How dare anyone who claims to be a preacher of the gospel view the preaching of any Biblical topic in such a negative way. What happened to ‘declaring the whole counsel of God’?
“This article is based on a short, simple and sweet verse that says the calm assurance of eternal life can be had by believers; ‘These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know you have eternal life.’ (1 John 5:13). Anyone who denies any part of this verse simply is not speaking the truth. Any brother or sister who thinks they cannot know whether they have eternal life or not have either been misinformed or have misunderstood the message.” [SOURCE: bible.ca]
READ MORE: Calvinism Rejected by Most Christians
Believe and Repent—Like a Real Born-Again Christian
John Rice once said that if you truly turn to Christ in faith, you have only one tendency, and that is, to turn your back on the many things you spent life before. What faith is that that changes nothing in the heart? It is just like believing in one’s hypertension without any effort at all at reducing one’s fat intake. It is the kind of faith that cannot move mountains of pain, sorrow, and hopelessness. It is the devil’s faith: a one percent faith over ninety-nine percent pure doubt. “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19a).
Many false Christians claim faith in the promises of our Lord. In truth, they are unforgiven sinners; they are lost, without hope and God in this world! In their moments of emergency, you cannot find Jesus in their hearts. For they are mere believers of the promises but have never been disciples of Him, who made all these sweet pledges and words of eternal life.
READ MORE: Fake Christians and Their Beliefs
Heaven is for the Forgiven Sinners Only
Heaven is for sinners, who, by faith in the Savior, become Christ’s children. They have an intimate acquaintance with the Lord in the heart —not just mere Christian sympathizers! “I never knew you, DEPART FROM ME” will be the words of Christ to all churchians and pastorians who are active in Church activities, sometimes surpassing born-again Christians in zeal, and yet in spirit and truth, are strangers and enemies of our Lord. When will these tares of the Lord’s church stop pretending?
Our Assurance that We Would Become Heavenly Residents in the Hereafter
From the lips of Christ Himself, we find this truth: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” What more do we need? Heaven is for sinners, like you and me, who believe in the gospel that God made Christ “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Assurance of Life in Heaven
From this world, we’re departing,
To a blessed place above.
Daily, we are fast moving,
Getting closer to our God.
In this world, we’re suffering;
Sometimes, for fear of the grave.
Afflictions send us trembling,
But in Christ we become brave.
Dear Lord Jesus, we thank You.
What you did, we can’t explain!
Gifts you gave, not just a few;
Eternal life in heaven.