Daily Nuggets

Every person desires a happy ending. Even if one has never professed faith in Christ, let alone delight in the Creator, they still hope to be well with them when they die, to be happy in heaven before God. We wish it for others as well; no wonder every grave is engraved with the official signature, ‘RIP—Rest In Peace’. Sadly, such a notion is not merely emotional pain among the grieving, but academic fantasy too. Such is noticed in Catherine Ricketts’s work on ‘Death’s vision’ in the popular ‘Christian Century’ journal. With emotional manipulation, she entertains the thought of her brother who died due to substance abuse to be in heaven enjoying God’s presence[1]. She points out that her late brother never professed faith but lived in habitual sin and lived as an open atheist (without God and not wanting God).

J.C Ryle, the ancient saint would seriously be bothered by any thought of an unsaved sinner being in heaven enjoying God. Ryle would ask these questions:

What possible enjoyment could you [unsaved sinner] feel there? To which of all the saints would you join yourself, and by whose side would you sit? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes are not your tastes, and their character is not your character.[2]

Ryle’s emphatic point is that one will not possibly delight in God in heaven when they die if they never tasted of that delight on this side of the grave. Fellowship with God is initiated in this life and matures in the life to come. So, do you wish to rest in eternal peace when you die? Do you wish to go to heaven when the grave is before you? Listen, felicity in the afterlife is determined in this life. Heavens delight’s antecedent is faith in this life.

1 John 3:3, “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure”.

[1] C. Ricketts, Death’s vision, Christian Century, 2022, p.26.

[2] J.C. Ryle, Suppose an unholy man were to go to heaven, Chapel Library, p.1.

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