February 21, 2016

You Can’t Take It With You – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

We’ve likely all heard statements to the effect that “Hearses don’t have trailers.”  The basic idea, that you can’t take it with you when you die, is a scriptural one.  The ecclesiastical writer put it this way, “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came.  He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand,” Ecclesiastes 5:15.   While the concept and quotes seem to primarily refer to “material possessions,” there are a few other things that we can’t take with us when we die- especially if the intended destination of our after death journey is heaven.

Sin-filled lives.  In this life we all sin and fall short of God’s glory and expectations, Romans 1 –  3; 3:21-23.  But it is also true that if heaven is our goal, these sinful habitudes must be left behind.  We cannot be content to “continue in sin,” Romans 6:1ff.  We must be willing to be transformed and renewed to a new life of obedience to Christ rather than continuing in conformation to and with the world, Romans 12:1-2.   Yes, Jesus will forgive us and pardon our sins, if we will repent and follow Him in righteousness.  You can’t take a sin-filled life with you to heaven!   “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure,” 1John 3:4.

“Minor” sins.  Unfortunately, we often classify sins like this: Mine are “minor,” but yours are “major”  (kind of the opposite of how we classify surgeries).  So, failures to love as we ought, and forgive as we ought, are viewed as only “minor” offenses.  By comparison to these sins of omission, there are also other sins of commission that we also consider “minor”- such as gossip, slander, course jesting, or being factious or dissentious, cf. Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:4; Romans 16:17.  Make no mistake about these “minor” sins.  The Scriptures are clear regarding these types of sins regardless of how we may classify them- that these sins can’t be taken with us to heaven any more than immorality, impurity, covetousness, or idolatry, Ephesians 5:5.

Time.  Virtually everything we do here in this life, and even our existence here, is bound by time.  This makes it somewhat difficult for us to even imagine a timeless eternal existence in heaven.  But nonetheless, “time” will be “no more” in heaven.  Revelation 21:25 and 22:5 explain that there will be no night there, but one continuous day in which the glory of God will be the light forever.  “Time” will, therefore, be left behind.
Loved Ones.  As much as we love our families, and as strong as our desires are for them to spend eternity in heaven, we can’t take them to heaven with us. We certainly can and should do all that is within our power to influence them to want to go, and to teach them the gospel that enables it, but they must make that decision and pursue the course themselves.  No one will be in heaven because of your desire alone.  This is true for everyone- including God.  Though He “desires all men to be saved,” such is, by His decree, dependent upon them and their willingness to “come to the knowledge of the truth” and its obligations, 1Timorthy 2:4.  In this regard, “each will bear his own load,” Galatians 6:5.

Tears.  I’ve often been asked how there can be “no tears” in heaven when one recognizes the absence of friends and loved ones there (cf. Revelation 21:4).  This is one of many things about heaven that I confess ignorance.  My best guess is that in heaven, with mortality and time stripped away, and in the presence of the glory of God and the Lamb, we will then see things from the divine perspective.  But tears, and the things that cause them, will not be taken with us to heaven.  Note from the same verse, “there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain: the first things have passed away.”  The things that cause tears and mourning are part of this life that we simply cannot take with us.  For while they are certainly part of the corruption, groaning, and futility of this life, they are not part of heaven!

Jesus Christ came to this earth and lived and died as a man, but was resurrected to eternal life proving Him to be the Son of God, Romans 1:4.  He has gone to prepare a place for those who are willing to hear, learn, and follow Him in obedience, John 6:44; 14:2-3.  But of the things of “this life,” it is indeed true that “you can’t take it with you” there!

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