The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Matthew 13:44
If Jesus isn’t your heaven, then what counterfeit is? Position… money… power… approval… security? Something plus Jesus always equals a bankrupt imitation void of heaven’s glory.
Heaven is for real, but only if Jesus is the centerpiece. Anything less is, well, not the real thing. Jesus prayed that heaven would come to earth, and now, heaven is closer than some might think. For Spirit-filled disciples of Jesus, Paul speaks of having all of God in human flesh. Jesus isn’t metaphorically inside you. He’s actually there!
The Centerpiece of Heaven is inside.
The Holy Spirit inside us rips away the distancing veil between God and us and plunges us into the Person of Jesus. Jesus is a real person; as intimacy with Jesus explodes, so does our passage into realms of heaven. The weighty atmospheres of Jesus’ presence, the liquid waves of love of Charles Finney, even transportation into celestial places we thought could only be experienced after death.
Heaven is not about the objects or the place. There is a literal heaven with streets of gold, a crystal sea, and pearly gates, but without Jesus, it would be hell just the same. It’s about the person of Jesus! If Jesus were just an object, numbers would flock in by association; Jesus would be treated as merely a hand stamp into a street club.
“See my stamp, Lord! I know all about You! I’ve done all these things in your name.”
“What about your relationship with me?” God inquires. “I don’t remember having an intimate relationship with you? When did you hear, listen, and obey my voice? Where is your love for my Son?” Then God levels those chilling words, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoer!”
Performing miracles, doing ministry, helping the poor, priding yourself for moral achievements; anything done outside of intimacy with Jesus is no more of a pass into heaven than doing countless good deeds, for someone you admire will assure you of marriage. Knowing about Jesus isn’t the same as knowing Jesus. Heaven is for real, but there is no heaven for those who reject intimacy with Jesus.
Hell, then, is the absence of Jesus. A furthering retreat from the Son is a forward movement into a living hell, chasing a counterfeit heaven for a hellish lure. Death is pursued in place of life—hell in the place of heaven. There is a literal hell! This is the worst hell of all. This hell is not partial. It is the total absence of the Son of God. He is perfect love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Hell will have none of this. There is no good thing outside of Jesus!
There is no light, only darkness! No love! No joy! No peace! Hell is a Godless vacuum. It is everything absent of God and everything evil abounding to the fullest. Jesus is after our heart, all of it. His humble birth, faithful life, dramatic death on a cross, victorious resurrection, astounding ascension, and is more than the shocking gift of the Spirit that filled a ragtag bunch of followers in an upper room. They’re all pointing to something.
Jesus is in love with his creation, and He’ll do anything to bring heaven to us. For those that believe and leave the counterfeit heaven for the real thing, the discovery of this treasure surpasses them all:
Heaven is for real, but only because Jesus is!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Matthew Mitchell is a devoted follower of Christ. He passionately pursues everything God tells him to do, and values nothing more than the approval and leading of Jesus Christ. He is currently a leader at Christ Community Church and a teacher at Westside High School in West Virginia. Matthew has been married to his wife, Amy, for nearly 20 years and they have two young sons, Samuel and Elijah.