What Will Heaven Be Like? (Considered From a Different Angle)
The question What will heaven be like? can be answered a number of ways. We could discuss what the physical place might be like from the Bible’s selective portraits, such as golden streets and a city where God and redeemed people reside together. We could talk about what doesn’t exist in heaven, such as death or mourning or pain. We could speculate about what we might be doing or what kind of things might dominate our attention. All of these are well and good, and have varying degrees of Scriptural answers to go along with them. But I want to look at heaven from a different angle in this article.
I want to know, what will heaven be like when the existence of sin is wiped out? I don’t mean, what will it be like to never be sinned against. I mean, what will it be like to never sin again or even be tempted to?
My answer is this: it will feel like total, utter, and complete freedom. Let me explain.
When most people think of freedom, they tend to equate it with the ability to do whatever you want. We are free when we can make choices. If there are no outside constraints placed upon us, then we are free. Or so it is said.
I want to suggest that this view of freedom is incomplete. In one sense, a person who can make any choice they desire is free. But they are not totally free in other senses. They are not free from the consequence of those choices, they are not free from remorse for those choices, and they are not free from the tension of those choices.
Consider this example. Most people would admit that stealing is wrong, and that human beings can make a free will choice to steal or not. Does that mean we are free? Not exactly.
If you want to steal but choose not to, you will live with inner tension. You will always feel like you are stifling your natural desires. In that sense you are not free.
If you want to steal and choose to do so, you will eventually experience remorse. You will have indulged your natural desires but not felt good about it. In that sense you are not free.
And in the second instance you will also suffer the consequences for your choice, whether in this life with charges or jail time, or in the next life, when God hold all sinners accountable. No matter what, true and full freedom is elusive.
What this means is that true freedom requires three things to line up perfectly. We are truly free when what we want to do, what we ought to do, and what we actually do are in perfect sync with one another.
This is the case not just with theft but with every kind of sin. The Bible clearly say that everyone is a sinner—or, to put it in everyday terms, “nobody’s perfect”—and therefore none of us experiences true freedom. We may have glimpses of it when we not only choose to do right but actually want to do so…yet we all know from experience that much of life is not like that. We live with remorse from regrettable choices or we live with tension from right choices that we made while gritting our teeth. Either way we are imprisoned within our own broken humanity.
But if what we want to do is what we ought to do, and we actually do it, we experience complete freedom. We experience freedom of choice, freedom from remorse, freedom from tension, and as a result, freedom from consequence.
Heaven, the Place of True Freedom
I think this is one way to describe what heaven will be like. We will always know the right thing to do. We will always want to do the right thing. And we will always do the right thing. We will never again suffer consequences or feel guilt for sin. We will never be deceived into doing the wrong thing. We will never even be tempted to do anything wrong. We will only and always forever obey God’s laws freely and gladly from our own free will.
In that way, heaven will be the most supreme joy a person can experience. We will be as God intended us to be, healed from our sinful desires, liberated from the consequences of poor choices, and freed from the guilt that wracks our conscience. That is what the Bible means when it speaks of God’s people being glorified in heaven, our new natures being fully restored to holiness and the happiness that comes with it. All who enter God’s kingdom will experience the wholeness of our humanity. Our actions, our will, and our conscience will all come into perfect sync with one another and we will live that way forever. Now that is true freedom!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! (Jesus in John 8:36)
This freedom comes only as we are redeemed and later fully glorified through faith in Christ. Believe on him to be the One who restores you from the inside out and you will experience the perfect freedom that comes from Jesus alone!