“If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor 15:19)
Is not this verse equally true when turned around? If we have hoped in Christ in heaven only, are we not also of all men most to be pitied? Modern Christendom teaches heaven is the place where we will receive the rewards of faith, and we need to somehow endure this life waiting for that day. It then provides a religious system that fulfills its own prophecy by relegating men to church pews, rather than making disciples of them, insuring heaven’s rewards remain locked away during their stay on earth. The result is most of religion’s coverts remain blind to what the kingdom of heaven on earth is all about.
Heaven’s rewards are available right here, right now for the disciple who seeks them. In “abiding in Christ and bearing fruit” (John 15), he fulfills the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, and catches a glimpse of what heaven is like. When he puts himself in the flow between a bountiful God and a needy brother, he experiences the fullness of God’s love coursing through his veins! Those who have experienced this can never again be satisfied with anything the kingdom of man can serve up. That’s heaven come to earth, and it’s what the disciple lives for. The Christian man who has known of God for many years, but never experienced His kingdom on earth, is indeed “most to be pitied.”