This Sunday, I’ll be wrapping up a sermon series on heaven. All in all, the messages in the series have been well-received; and I’d like to think that the truths my church family and I have studied will help all of us to think about heaven in a more biblical way. Having said that, however, writing the final sermon — which focuses on how we should live in light of all we’ve discussed — is really giving me a hard time. As usual, the challenge is that there’s so much to say and so little time in which to say it. But in an effort to give some shape to the message, I’ve selected 1 Peter 1:3-9 as the sermon text and have built on its assertion that we’ve been given “new birth into a living hope…and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.”
The problem, however, is that thinking of our hope in terms of “inheritance” runs the risk of making it exclusively about the future. Don’t get me wrong; I think we’ve got a glorious future! A future without death, or mourning, or crying, or pain — and a future in which we explore new horizons of creativity and joy and love in a world made new. And yet, as I understand it, the resurrection of Jesus means that God’s future has entered our present. Yes, we look forward to a day when Christ returns and sets the world right; but we also experience that day now — as we pray and live in such a way that “God’s kingdom comes and God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.”
And so, it is with some gratitude that I receive the clarity that comes from the psalm in today’s Daily Office. As he celebrates God’s faithfulness, David offers these words:
Lord, you are my portion and my cup…
surely I have a delightful inheritance. (Psalm 16:5-6)
Yes, we have a lot to look forward to. But the true promise of heaven isn’t streets of gold, or restored bodies, or reunions with departed friends and loved one. The true promise of heaven is the Lord Himself. And we don’t have to wait for the future to receive that promise.
May the Lord truly be our portion and our cup today. And may we live with the generosity and joy of those whose inheritance is secure.