Terminal cancer is no joke. When we hear we have so little time left, what do we do? Re-calibrate? Re-orient? Get out our bucket list and try to live it up? It’s perfectly understandable, whatever we do when we face our fragile little selves for what we really are (Ga 6:3), feeling alone, afraid, uncertain. (He 10:31)
Truly, we’re all dying of a terminal condition: Life itself. But as long as death seems far away, not imminently close, we comfort ourselves however we can, asleep at the wheel.
Facing our mortality wakes us up, helping us realize what and who we are (Ja 4:14), what and who we have, or don’t have. (Ga 6:4-5) It’s clear we don’t take our stuff, our friends or family (1Co 6:29-31), or even our man-made religion (Mk 7:7); we leave it all behind. (1Ti 6:7) We will face God alone, and deal with Him one on one, for eternity. (Ro 14:11-12)
It isn’t so much a choice between Heaven and Hell, though that’s implied; it’s more about being a devoted lover of God, or His enemy: there’s no middle ground with Him. (Mt 12:33)
Think of it this way: no matter where we end up, it’s just going to be like each one of us as an individual is alone with God (2Co 5:8), as if no one else will be on our radar, distracting us from Him (Ps 27:4), part of our routine, conscious focus, except Him. (Ps 73:25)
What will that be like … if we love God? (1Co 8:3) or if we don’t? (16:22)
For sure, those in Heaven will be in community together, in a sense (He 12:22-23), as well as those in Hell, but as God unveils us into His immediate omnipresence (Jn 17:24), His infinitude will completely consume, occupy and overwhelm all our senses. (Re 20:11) From that moment on, out into eternity, we will see and experience God as All in All (1Co 15:58), drinking in the infinite majesty of Jehovah God. (Re 22:3-5)
If we love God, in that eternal moment, we’ll have all there is to have (Ro 8:17); and if we don’t love God, we’ll be forever face-to-face with the indignant fury of the Almighty (Re 6:16), Who repays all who hate Him to their face. (De 7:9-10)
We may think we don’t actually hate God, perhaps we’re just indifferent or lukewarm, but that’s all the same to Him; He might even detest indifference more intensely. (Re 3:15-16) God cannot be trifled with (Ga 6:7); He commands us to love Him with all our being; mind, heart, soul and strength. (Mk 12:30) Nothing less is acceptable.
False religion is how we deceive ourselves into thinking God will accept us on our merits, because we belong to a special club and follow certain rituals, and the more truth our religion contains the more deceptive it can be. (2Co 11:13-15) Any religion offering us hope by adhering to it is a counterfeit; religion can’t bring us to God. Shedding all formal religion, leaving only the divine relationship, may help us see whether we’re relying on emptiness here.
If we’re honest with ourselves (1Co 3:18), we can tell what and who we truly love. Is it truth? (2Th 2:10) Is it God? Above everything and everyone else? (Jn 12:25) Is this reflected in our lives, day to day? (Pr 20:11) Are we obeying Him the best we know how, submitting our entire lives to Him? (Jn 14:23)
There’s only one Way to God: the Person of Jesus Christ. (Jn 14:6) He is all we need, but to have Him we must give up everything else (Mt 13:44-46); He tolerates no rivals in our affections or loyalties. (Lk 14:26)
If me and Christ forever sounds like Heaven (Ps 84:4), we’re likely one of the chosen few to find the narrow gate and we’re well on our way (Mt 7:14); otherwise, we’re likely still on the broad road with the mass of Mankind, the walking dead (Ep 2:1), headed to eternal death and destruction. (Mt 7:13) Look for that tiny little gate, find it and strive to enter (Lk 13:24); it’s only One Person wide, and His name is Yeshua: Jesus.
9 thoughts on “In Himself Alone”
Perhaps a good analogy of this is a music concert. We get so consumed in the music and display we momentarily forget the rest of the audience, only marginally aware we’re all being caught up together in worship, but primarily enthralled with and focused on the performance itself.
The reference, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” (1Co 6:29-31) describes a healthy focus while yet on earth, such that even a marriage relationship fades in comparison with our love relationship with God. How much more so when we are face to face with Him in Heaven.
God truly touched my heart and mind through these words this morning. After reading the release of Israel from Egypt in Exodus….my thoughts were of how we are to worship God ALONE!!! There will be other things and people that will compete, but God will continue to display his love and mercy to US…individually….how loving He is…through all time!
Thank you, Tim, for allowing our Lord to work through you!!
By grace alone,
Thank you so much Connie! I am so glad this one was edifying for you.
This post was particularly difficult to write, but very helpful to me, and I have been continuing to wrestle it out to see if/where it is yet amiss. Others haven’t been so encouraging, not seeing what we are on this one, yet I’m seeing this truth more and more in scripture now. This morning in Ps 26:6 and 27:4.
It is so encouraging to me that Heaven will create no distance or space between us and God. I had been wondering for decades how I could feel any closer to God than I do now, having direct, immediate, intimate access to Him 24X7; I couldn’t see how Heaven would be an improvement. I was always thinking I would have to get in a line with millions of other believers to have one-on-one time with Him again. Not so! 🙂
Blessings to you!
Psalm 73:25 stood out:
Whom have I in heaven but thee?
And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
I ponder resurrection of the dead in relation to incorruptibility. Immortality is one thing — but immortality without incorruptibility does not give joy to my pondering. Incorruptibility, no inclination to be on the wrong side of Thou Shalt Not Covet —
Jesus preparing that place for us
Software may have upgrades, but the upgrade of I Cor 15:42 onward, vs 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then SHALL be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory — truly eye has not seen, nor ear heard…
ps – I like this writing style of yours — it aligns with if any man speaks let him speak as the oracles of God.
Thanks and Amen!
How does this one-one-one idea with God work with a new Heaven and Earth? (Re 21:1) Why would New Jerusalem be so large and beautiful? How would kings bring their glory into it, and how would there be nations walking in its light? (24)
It would seem there’s a lot to do and explore and enjoy, a lot of activity in the afterlife; evidently, we’re not all just lying in holy stupor, chanting, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” mindlessly for eternity. We sing songs together (Re 15:3) and engage God in conversation, asking Him what He’s up to in group conversation. (Re 6:10) So how can it still be like we’re alone with God with all of this going on?
Evidently, we can be very active for God while beholding God’s beauty and engaging face to face with Him in His temple. (“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” Ps 27:4)
Our soul can be clinging to God, cleaving to Him while we engage in earthly activity, while we’re in His embrace, upheld by His hand. (“My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” Ps 63:8)
Angels are sent to minister for those who will be heirs of salvation (“But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” He 1:13-14) yet they’re always beholding the face of God. (“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Mt 18:10)
If we’re one spirit with God even now (“But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” 1Co 6:17), if we’re to be continually seeking His face here on Earth even now (“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Ps 27:8), if we’re continually with Him even now, held in His right hand (“Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”), abiding in Him and He in us even now (“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Jn 14:4), if He is closer than our very breath even now, we can be certain Heaven will create no space or distance or separation between us and God at all, not for a second.
No activity will distract us from His face (“and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Re 22:4), from feeding in His majesty (“And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.” Mi 5:4), from basking in His immediate omnipresence. (“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” Ps 139:7) We shall be an eternal part of the very infrastructure of the living temple of God, and we will never leave it. (“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Re 3:12)
Whatever awaits us in Heaven, whatever activity He calls us to, we will do it with Him, and in Him, and for Him. (“For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Ro 11:36)
The proof text for this concept may be Ps 27:4 – “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.” The singular interest of the psalmist is to behold the divine beauty, to be search out and exploring the unsearchable riches of Christ.
If we are to be singing this psalm (Ja 5:13), then this is the singular focus and interest of our new man here even now. And if our new man is already constantly consumed with the beauty, majesty, and glory of God, turning from His glory in Heaven to some other occupation is unthinkable. We can multi-task in God, being occupied with God and for God as He wills without being distracted from Him. It is true of those in Heaven, and it must be our pursuit in holiness here on Earth.
There is relevant mystery in contemplating the completeness of God prior to creation. God is self-existent, self-satisfying, self-contained. He is not restless or bored. He need not be active, always doing something in order to be complete.