Where is heaven?

Heaven is not primarily a place but a state of character. It is freedom from sin and fulness of fellowship with God. A man with sin in his heart could not be happy anywhere in God's universe ; he would convert any paradise into a hell. Character is more than environment. A perfect environment will not make perfect character. Some modern soap-box orators seem to think a full dinner pail is all that is needed to turn sinners into saints and the world into a paradise. But experience rather indicates that, without the regenerating grace of God, the easier conditions are for the sinner the more perverse he will likely become.

On the other hand, salvation would not be complete without a change of environment as well as a change in character. We have seen in the scriptures, that there will perhaps be a renovation of the physical universe along with the deliverance of the children of God from the bondage of sin and corruption [Rom. 8:19 ; 2 Pet. 3:13]. There will be new heavens and a new earth for a new humanity to inhabit. This will be true whether Peter's statement refers to the renovation of the physical universe or is a figure for the regeneration of the moral universe. The fact that we are to inhabit bodies will probably call for a "local habitation and a name." Heaven will doubtless be a location as well as a state of character.

[Lk. 17:21] ' The kingdom of heaven is within you. '

This is the first thing we have to learn about the Kingdom : it is spiritual, and its seat is the heart [heavenly places]. It is where joy is, its loyalties are displayed there. So far as the world of rational and moral beings is concerned, it is wherever human hearts [our spirit] and wills bow before God as King. It can only come as God wins our souls for Himself and realizes a sovereigty on earth through the hearts and wills of His children---through our faith and love, our gratitude, joy and obediece.

The state in which we live here will always make demands on faith and patience. Even when we have learned that the Kingdom of God is within us we shall still need to say to ourselves, He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

When Jesus lived among men, evil was strong enough to inflict the Cross upon Him ; and nothing in His teaching, or in the New Testament anywhere, encourages us to expect in this world a state of things in which the Christian will be exempted from the cross. Let moral progress be as great as we can conceive, yet we will never come in the flesh to a condition in which goodness will be charmingly easy, and the following of Jesus the path of least resistance. The progress of the world is not in good only, or bad only, but in the antagonism between the two.

Our eternal state will be complete deliverance from sin. Or, to state the matter affirmatively, it will be holiness of character. To be like Christ will be heaven. to make us like Christ in character is the thing that God has had in mind from eternity. Nothing grieves the heart of the Christian so in this life as his own sins and moral lapses ; he longs with unutterable longing for complete deliverance. To be free from sin will be one of the chief elements in the Christian's blessedness in the coming age.

Faith, hope, and love do not pass away ; they abide forever. But hope looks to the future; it looks for something not yet realized. This indicates that even in heaven there will always be before us possibilities toward which we are moving that we have not yet attained. And Paul's statement indicates that faith and hope are just as eternal as love. This would seem almost to necessitate the idea that the future life for the Christian will be a life of eternal growth. Boundless possibilities of development in knowledge, power, and holiness are our inheritance in Christ Jesus, and endless ages are ours in which to attain our possibilities.

In Christ, timothy.