What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

John Piper’s reply to a letter from a 12-year-old about heaven and hell: You asked what happens to people who live far away from the gospel and have never heard about Jesus and die without faith in him. Here is what I think the Bible teaches. God always punishes people because of what they know and fail to believe. In other words, no one will be condemned for not believing in Jesus who has never heard of Jesus. Does that mean that people will be saved and go to heaven if they have never heard of Jesus? No, that is not what God tells us in the Bible. The main passage in the Bible that talks about this is Romans 1:18–23. Here is what it says. Then I’ll make a comment or two. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be

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Do Christians “go to heaven” when they Die?

Sam Storms: There is a loud chorus of voices these days denouncing, in a somewhat condescending way, the long-standing belief among evangelicals that when Christians die they go to heaven. In one sense, this outcry is good and constructive. It is an understandable and much-needed response to the unbiblical gnosticism of some “fundamentalist” Christians who denigrate material creation, diminish the reality of a future bodily resurrection, and fail to reckon with the centrality in God’s redemptive purpose of the New Heavens and especially the New Earth. So, is my answer to the question posed in the title, No? Not quite. My answer is: Immediately, Yes. Eternally, No. Or again, to simplify, when a Christian dies he/she immediately passes into the conscious presence of Christ in heaven. But when the day of resurrection arrives, he/she will be given a new and glorified body in which all of God’s people will live and flourish on the New Earth (of Revelation 21-22). What

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Why heaven will never be boring

What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived— the things God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor. 2:9) Dave Radford: Have you ever worried that you might grow bored in heaven, that things may lose their luster or taste, that the whole novelty and intrigue of heaven might fade as do most things on earth? When you sing, “When we’ve been there ten thousand years . . . we’ve no less days to sing his praise than when we’d first begun,” do you wonder whether or not to be encouraged by such a statement? Sure, eternal life sounds wonderful at first. But unless you have a firm grasp on what the Bible has to say about eternal life, you may begin to wonder. Eternity really is a long time, you might think.Is this something I really desire? After ten million years, will I really have the same desire I once had to go on living here? At the

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Jonathan Edwards on Heaven, a World of Love

Sam Storms: “The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness; to be with God, and to spend my eternity in divine love, and holy communion with Christ. My mind was very much taken up with contemplations on heaven, and the enjoyments there; and living there in perfect holiness, humility and love: And it used at that time to appear a great part of the happiness of heaven, that there the saints could express their love to Christ. It appeared to me a great clog and burden, that what I felt within, I could not express as I desired. The inward ardor of my soul, seemed to be hindered and pent up, and could not freely flame out as it would. I used often to think, how in heaven this principle should freely and fully vent and express itself. Heaven appeared exceedingly delightful, as a world of love; and that all happiness consisted in living in pure, humble, heavenly, divine

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Set your hope fully

Michael McKinley: …Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13 ESV) The character and object of a man’s hope determines almost everything that’s important about him. But look at what the apostle Peter says about our hope: Notice the verb he uses. Our hope is something that we must “set”. It’s not a passive process, but we must actively choose to locate our hope and place it in something. Our hope can be set to greater or lesser degrees. It can be “fully” set on something or it can be set half-heartedly. Hope looks to something we don’t have right now but that will be brought to us, namely, the fullness of grace (the amazing blessings!) that will be brought when Jesus is revealed. Pastoral ministry and the Christian life in general are often marked by (a sometimes holy) discontent. We are constantly aware of deficiencies,

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Living Ready for Heaven

Jonathan Edwards: We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven. We should “seek first the kingdom of God.” 236 We ought above all things to desire a heavenly happiness; to be with God; and dwell with Jesus Christ. Though surrounded with outward enjoyments, and settled in families with desirable friends and relations; though we have companions whose society is delightful, and children in whom we see many promising qualifications; though we live by good neighbours, and are generally beloved where known; yet we ought not to take our rest in these things as our portion. We should be so far from resting in them, that we should desire to leave them all, in God’s due time. We ought to possess, enjoy, and use them, with no other view but readily to quit them, whenever we are called to it, and to change them willingly and cheerfully for heaven. The Works of Jonathan Edwards

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What can earth do to you…?

“Now suppose both death and hell were utterly defeated.  Suppose the fight was fixed.  Suppose God took you on a crystal ball trip into your future and you saw with indubitable certainty that despite everything — your sin, your smallness, your stupidity — you could have free for the asking your whole crazy heart’s deepest desire: heaven, eternal joy.  Would you not return fearless and singing?  What can earth do to you, if you are guaranteed heaven?  To fear the worst earthly loss would be like a millionaire fearing the loss of a penny — less, a scratch on a penny.” Peter Kreeft, Heaven (San Francisco, 1989), page 183. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Treasure Christ, and You Cannot Lose

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:21 Edwards, preaching on this text– If it be so that your death is your gain, be exhorted to wean your hearts more and more from the world. If your gain consists not in staying in the world but in going out of it, how important is it to set your hearts upon it as if it consisted in it. Will you set your hearts upon the things of this life when your gain consists not in this life but in the next? Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Is death gain to you? Be entirely resigned to God’s will while living or dying: you are always safe in either of these conditions, for you to live is Christ and to die is gain. . . . And seeing it is so that you are got into such a happy estate and condition that

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In God, heaven

“The Scriptures constantly teach that man’s only true happiness is in God, and that his full happiness in God cannot be attained in this life, but that believing men have that happiness assured to them in the life to come.  Commenting on John 14:6, Godet says, ‘Jesus here substitutes the Father for the Father’s house.  For it is  not in heaven that we are to find God, but in God that we are to find heaven.’” Alexander Whyte, An Exposition on the Shorter Catechism, page 137. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

There in Heaven

“There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love — this eternal Three in One — is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!” Jonathan Edwards, “Heaven is a world of love,” Charity and its Fruits, pages 327-328. (HT: Ray Ortlund)

Is another “fall” possible in heaven?

From James Grant: In the recent “Ask Pastor John” video, someone asked Piper the following question: “If the Angels could fall, how can we know we won’t?” This is a great question, and you can watch Piper’s answer here. Piper’s answer appeals to the doctrine of perseverance. The fact that God holds us in His hand, and no one can pluck us out of His hand, applies not only to perseverance in this life, but also the life to come. That is indeed a helpful way to look at this issue. With the doctrine of perseverance, we should also consider justification and union with Christ. We can see this clearly as we examine the different states of mankind. This structure of history that comes from St. Augustine and is adopted by the Puritans. Thomas Boston (and others) called this the “four-fold estate of man.” One of my early posts addressed this matter. You can read that post here, but here

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Hope so?

“Christian hope is not about wishing things will get better. It is not about hoping that emptiness will go away, meaning return, and life will be stripped of its uncertainties, aches, and anxieties. Nor does it have anything to do with techniques for improving fallen human life, be those therapeutic, spiritual, or even religious. Hope has to do with the knowledge of ‘the age to come.’ This redemption is already penetrating ‘this age.’ The sin, death, meaninglessness of the one age are being transformed by the righteousness, life, and meaning of the other. What has emptied out life, what has scarred and blackened it, is being displaced by what is rejuvenating and transforming it. More than that, hope is hope because it knows it has become part of a realm, a kingdom, that endures. It knows that evil is doomed, that it will be banished. This kind of hope has left behind it the ship of ‘this age,’ which is

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An Amillennial Eschatology Chart!

I like this! Check out the references for your self. Click Here for larger image R. Scott Clark recently posted this. This chart illustrates the concurrent events associated with the Second Advent of Christ. i.e. that the resurrection of the just (and unjust) dead, the judgment of all mankind, and the renewal of the entire cosmos will all occur at a point in time: the time of Jesus’ return; the day of the Lord. Could it be so simple and straightforward??? (HT: Reformation Theology)

Why It Matters That God Does Everything for His Own Glory

From John Piper: Why should we emphasize that God loves, forgives, and saves for his own glory? Two reasons (among others). 1)  Because the Bible does. I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25) For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11) Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! (Psalm 79:9) Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you. (Jeremiah 14:7) We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you. Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne. (Jeremiah 14:20-21) God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be

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Heavenly Treasures in [is] Christ

“The Lord willingly and freely reveals himself in his Christ. For in Christ, he offers all happiness in place of our misery, all wealth in place of our neediness; in him he opens to us the heavenly treasures that our whole faith may contemplate his beloved Son, our whole expectation depend upon him, and our whole hope cleave to and rest in him.” —John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.20.1 (HT: Of First Importance)

Heaven

“Then the church shall be brought to the full enjoyment of her bridegroom, having all tears wiped away from her eyes, and there shall be no more distance or absence. She shall then be brought to the entertainments of an eternal wedding feast, and to dwell forever with her bridegroom, yea, to dwell eternally in his embraces. Then Christ will give her his loves, and she shall drink her fill, yea, she shall swim in the ocean of his love.” Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to her Sons and to her God,” in Works, II:22. (HT: Christ is Deeper Still)

The revelation of Jesus Christ

My thanks to Dave Bish (great to meet you in Louisville Dave) for this. Here is the testimony of one truly caught up to paradise. See previous post! The revelation of Jesus Christ He is the faithful witness, reliably revealing what will happen. He is the firstborn from the dead, his resurrection brings ours. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth, they all stand accountable to him. He loves us. He freed us from our sins by his blood, taking our punishment, cleansing us. He made us a kingdom, over which he is king. He made us priests to God the Father, and we may boldly approach. He owns glory and rule over all things forever, he is incomparable. He is coming with the clouds, he will return. He will be seen by every eye, even those who pierced him. He will cause all to wail, the light who exposes our sin. He is the beginning and

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