Christians are really rather bothersome. They are always going on about what God considers to be ok or not ok. Is it ok to watch Fifty Shades of Grey? Is abortion ever acceptable? What about ordaining homosexuals? Those are some pretty hot button issues for Christianity today but what about the “small” stuff? Does God care if I drink alcohol? What about smoking or swearing or white lies? What matters, what doesn’t and why should I care?
After all, I’m saved, aren’t I? The blood of Jesus washed away my sin when I accepted Him as my Saviour. Didn’t He suffer so I wouldn’t have to? Well yes … and no. I don’t have to take the punishment that Jesus bore but I am asked to become like Jesus. So how did Jesus become Jesus? He learned obedience through the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) Jesus submitted His will to that of the Father’s. He sought the Father’s will above His own. He didn’t just magically touch down on earth, suffer beatifically on the cross for a few hours and then return to heaven.
Jesus intentionally lived through every experience that made Him the High Priest who sympathizes with all our pains and sorrows. (Hebrews 4:15) Then, He sat down at the right hand of the Father where He now gets to do whatever He wants.
Wait. What? Back up a second. Does Jesus do whatever He wants?
Nope. Scripture is pretty clear that Jesus does not do what He wants; He does what the Father wants. (John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49,50) In heaven, things are as God wills them to be. There’s no debate, no considering someone else’s opinion.
So if Jesus does not do what He wants why would we think we get to do whatever we want?
Sure we may be super confused at times about what it is that God wants us to do but we should be clear on this one point: it really is all about Him and what He wants.
Let’s think about this realistically. If we do not want to submit to God here on earth whatever makes us think we will desire to do so in heaven? Do we really think we can spend our time despising God’s commands here on earth and yet be happy to obey them in heaven? Heaven is not like school where you are expected to behave for a few hours and then the bell rings. Heaven is God’s way twenty-four seven without recess.
If we think that in heaven we will somehow automatically delight to do God’s will maybe we should think again. What about Lucifer? He was the most beautiful and exalted of all the angels. He lived in the presence of the Lord. He saw and experienced God’s majesty on an ongoing basis. Yet he was tempted by pride and fell.
Now I am not trying to get into a theological or Scriptural debate here. I realize we are created different than the angels. As God’s children we are offered grace and redemption and those who love Him will be made like Him. (1 John 3:2) In the meantime maybe submission to God here on earth is preparing us to enjoy the time when we will be fully, completely and forever submitted to our King. If that doesn’t sound like your idea of heaven maybe it’s time to rethink things.
(this article was originally posted in the Spiritual Thoughts column of the Thompson Citizen on Friday March 06, 2015)