What will heaven be like? There are several books where people claim to see heaven and where they vividly describe it, but one thing we have to realize is that God actually reveals very little about what eternity will be like for us, but we can notice some things about what life there will be like.

As you read the following description that John gives us of what things will be like after all things have been completed, keep in mind that this is the resolution of all things and does not describe end times events that will lead to the renewal of creation. This is after God renews all of creation and we are with Him forever!

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Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,

and He will live with them.

They will be His people,

and God Himself will be with them

and be their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Death will no longer exist;

grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer,

because the previous things have passed away.

Then the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. But the cowards, unbelievers, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars — their share will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”[1]

 

I did not see a sanctuary in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Each day its gates will never close because it will never be night there. They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. Nothing profane will ever enter it: no one who does what is vile or false, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His slaves will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. Night will no longer exist, and people will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.[2]

 

In Genesis 1-2 we see that this is the type of world God created in the beginning. There was nothing profane and God lived with people. When God promises to renew His creation, it seems that he is restoring it to the state of perfection it had before people sinned and brought corruption and profanity into it. Here are some characteristics of God’s renewed creation:

  1. God will be with people and He will be their God
  2. There will be no death, grief, or pain.
  3. No one will go hungry or thirsty.
  4. Those who have trusted in Christ will inherit “all this”
  5. Referring, in context, to the new heaven and new earth.
  6. There will be no sinfulness
  7. Christ will direct our paths (we will walk in His light)
  8. There is no longer any curse
  9. God’s people will serve Him
  10. People will reign forever and be good stewards of God’s creation as they were in Genesis 1 and 2.

 

This is what we can know about what God’s Kingdom will be like and this is what we will keep in mind as we walk through 2 Peter this month.

 

Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ:

To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self- control, self- control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you.[3]

 

Because Christ died for us and gives eternal life to those people who truly believe in Him, Peter states that we can share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world. The first thing I notice about this corruption is that it comes from evil desires. It doesn’t seem that God given human desires can be evil, but those desires we have can become evil when we fulfill them in ways that are ungodly. This is where corruption comes from and it’s been this way since Adam sinned against God in the Garden of Eden. God’s renewed creation will not have any corruption, as we saw in Revelation, and this is why we strive to escape corruption on this earth. Check this out about what the renewed creation will be for us:

If we will inherit creation and rule over it, or be stewards of it, if we will serve God, and if Christ will direct our paths; then the renewed creation will not be this place where God’s people are just before him day and night and all we get to do is sing…

What it means is if we look at this earth, we see a blurry image of what heaven will be like. We will have passions and dreams and places of service and we will have responsibility to rule over God’s creation. This necessarily means that the investment we make on this earth carries over into God’s eternal kingdom. If we invest in corruption, then we invest in nothing because there will be no corruption in the renewed creation. Therefore, Peter gives us practical advice as we live in this wasteland:

  1. Supplement your faith with goodness.
    1. If you only believe in Christ, you make no investment in your eternal future.
  2. Strive to do good in Christ’s name.
  3. Supplement goodness with knowledge.
    1. Knowledge is only to supplement good action and the more right knowledge we gain, the more we invest in our eternity.
  4. Knowledge with self-control
  5. Self control with endurance
  6. Endurance with godliness
  7. Godliness with brotherly affection
  8. Brotherly affection with love

If we are increasing in these qualities, we bear fruit and we are useful in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Peter states that if we do not pursue these things, then we have forgotten what Christ has done for us and even calls us short-sighted. It is by these characteristics: Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love; that we will be richly given entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will be able to continue to pursue and practice these things! As we continue to study 2 Peter, we will learn how to better invest in an eternity in the renewed creation!

So we begin by striving to escape corruption. We work to be good, we seek knowledge, we practice self-control, we endure despite any opposition, we strive to be like God, we love our brothers and sisters, then love everyone else. This is how we begin investing in our eternity after we have come to know Christ as Savior and Lord.

[1] Revelation 21:1-10 (HCSB)

[2] Revelation 21:22-22:5 (HCSB)

[3] 2 Peter 1:1-11 (HCSB)

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