Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #274 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 John 3 today and our focus is on What Do We Become When We Die + What is a Sign That We Are Saved and Going to Heaven? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Let me open with an important verse that we won’t focus on today, but is crucial:
The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s works. 1 John 3:8
As we have discussed a few times, the Bible tells us that Jesus came for a variety of reasons: To seek and to save the lost, to die for our sins, to give abundant life, and here we see another one: To destroy the works of the devil. What works? I would say the primary work of the devil is probably in view here, and probably some others too. I would say the primary work of the devil is the fall of man in the Garden of Eden recorded in Genesis 3 – deceiving the woman into eating the forbidden fruit. Jesus has appeared to utterly destroy that and many other works of evil.
A big question today that our passage addresses: What do Christians become when they die? Some people say that we “gain our wings,” when we die, but this is unbiblical for at least two reasons. #1 There is NO biblical indication that people become angels when they die. #2 – As discussed before, it does not appear that angels have wings. Jesus does see this slightly intriguing statement in Mark 12:
25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven.26 And as for the dead being raised—haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?27 He is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are badly mistaken.” Mark 12:25-27
Most scholars take this to mean that Christians, when they die, will not be married in heaven – not that they become angels. That said, it could certainly mean that followers of Christ in Heaven will be like angels in other ways too. This doesn’t give us much, so let’s ask the question again: what do people in Heaven become? 1 John 3 gives us an interesting answer:
2 Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he appears, we will be like him because we will see him as he is. 1 John 3:2
So- exactly WHAT we will become has not been revealed says John. That seems to be very little information, but that does tell us one pretty important thing: God’s children appear to become something, at least, after death, and that something, according to John, will be “LIKE HIM.” HOW will we be like Jesus? That is not specified, but Paul does give us several clues: in 1 Corinthians 15:
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? What kind of body will they have when they come?” 36 You fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow—you are not sowing the body that will be, but only a seed, perhaps of wheat or another grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he wants, and to each of the seeds its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same flesh; there is one flesh for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is different from that of the earthly ones. 41 There is a splendor of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; in fact, one star differs from another star in splendor. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; 43 sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; 44 sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 1 Corinthians 15:35-44
So a Christian in Heaven, after death, will have an incorruptible body, a glorious body, a powerful body, and, perhaps most important: a SPIRITUAL body. Perhaps it is in that sense – having an incorruptible, glorious, powerful and spiritual body that we will be like the angels and like Jesus.
Next question: How can a person know whether or not they are saved and headed to that spiritual body we just discussed? Is it because we feel Jesus living in our heart, as the famous song “He lives,” testifies? I don’t know about that, but I do know that John is going to give us a very stark, very black and white test of whether or not we are saved by Jesus. It isn’t the only indicator in the Bible- not even the only indicator in 1 John, but it is important:
14 We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:14-15
So – a sure sign of salvation is that we LOVE our brothers and sisters- if we don’t love fellow Christians, then we remain in death. Worse, if we hate fellow Christians, says John – who does NOT mince his words – then that is the same as if we are MURDERERS. Wow – that is pretty stark – hatred is not something benign according to the Bible, but it is akin to murder. How do we practically show love to our brothers and sisters? John gives us at least one way:
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him—how does God’s love reside in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. 1 John 3:16-17
Love is not a warm feeling, or just saying words – love is expressed in ACTION and helping with needs. Let’s read our passage in whole.
Bible Memory verses for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might liv through him. 1 John 4:7-8
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