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September 24, 2021 12:01 am
How can Christians possibly be happy in heaven while knowing that some of their loved ones are in hell? Today, R.C. Sproul explores what the Bible has to say about this deeply troubling question.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. How can I be happy in heaven.
If I am aware that one of my loved ones is in hell. Stay with us is Dr. RC Sproul addresses another tough question that Christians face when we started we often got up against things that are difficult to understand. Sometimes a passage of Scripture is confusing or a skeptic raises a question that we simply can't answer. We covered several of those questions this week like what is evil and does it come from is the Bible. Just another book in today. Dr. RC Sproul addresses the question, the believers throughout history have asked I have to answer the question, how can we be happy in heaven if we know that some of our friends, loved ones, family members are in hell. The first part of the answer to that question is found in the first part of chapter 21 of the book of Revelation.
I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away and God is making all things new. How can you be happy in heaven. If you know that your friends or relatives are in the hell the first thing we understand is that heaven is a place where God personally will wipe away our tears and when he wipes them away.
They never ever come back. Expel from the presence of the new Jerusalem for the inhabitants thereof is death, disease, pain and sorrow for all who dwell therein will drink freely from the fountain of life in this message this afternoon. I'd like to recount to embarrassing incidents I experienced while in seminary that involved reactions to me of my beloved mentor and professor Dr. John Gerstner, you have to understand that when I was a student of Dr. Gerstner I irritated him more than twice. I seem to have a penchant for annoying my great professor. The first incident that I'll relate to you.
Was this we had been in chapel at the seminary, which was a liberal seminary hostile to orthodoxy and certainly the reformed orthodoxy and higher lesson reluctantly to one of the professors giving a sermon that disrespected and dishonored everything precious to those who love the reformed faith and one service was over I walked out of the chapel with Dr. Gerstner and Dr. Gerstner was headed to his car which was not a car. It was a converted Volkswagen bus that had been converted into a library and we were going towards the parking lot of doctors was taller than I was and he would always move with dispatch with long strides and I would have to kind of skip to keep up with them as he would move with this determinant resolution to his destination, which in this case was his converted bus, I casually remarked this. We were walking together. I said while John Calvin would've heard that sermon, he would've turned over in his grave, and in mid stride Gerstner planted his front foot pivoted around, looked at me with the glare of death and said to me, what did you say should we say I just said, when I heard that in the turnover. He said young, don't you know that nothing could possibly disturb the felicity that John Calvin is enjoying right now you may be disturbed by that sermon, but it's certainly not going to detract from the joy everlasting into which the magisterial reformer has already entered Iceland's manner of speaking, guidance. I understand what you're saying because Calvin was in the place where there's no more death, no more pain, more tutors and more so, but it was the other time that I really annoyed him this time was in class was the lecture situation was a seminar were only about eight students and we were seated around the table with the professor and one of the students asked the question, Dr. Gerstner.
How can I be happy in heaven. If I am aware that one of my loved ones is in hell and Gerstner snapped around and looked at this man and he said don't you know that when you're in heaven you will be so sanctified that you will be able to see your own mother in Howell and rejoice in that knowing that God's perfect justice is being carried out, and while the student who asked that question shrunk back in horror, his face turning white burst out laughing so funny. I said excuse me, doctors can't believe you just said what you just said what he talks like that. This guy is nuts will be so sanctified in heaven that I could look into the pit of hell. See my mother.
There and be glad. I can imagine anything more ridiculous.
The mat, but he got my attention. I had to think about deeply and often, and with that incident in mind, I'd like to go to the second text chapter 8 of Paul's letter to the Romans, beginning with verse 22 for we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were say now hope that is seen is not hope for who hopes for what he sees with if we hope for we do not see, we wait for it with patience and likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness for we don't know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words and he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who were called according to his purpose. And then Paul expands on this and he says this for those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and those whom he predestined he also called those whom he called he also justified those whom he justified he also glorified.
When I just read to you is called in theology. The golden chain of the order saluted us the order of salvation that begins in eternity where God knows his elect from all eternity. And he loves them from all eternity and those who before knows he predestined us and when we look at this text that's usually where we stopped and then we have conferences and discussions and debates and arguments about predestination and we forget about the end of predestination. The goal of predestination. The purpose of predestination that the purpose of predestination is that we be conformed to the image of Christ. We are elected in Christ for Christ to end up in conformity to Christ and then he goes on to say those whom he predestined he also called in those whom he called he also justified those whom he justified he also glorified.
How many lectures how many discussions how many times at these conferences have we focus our attention on the doctrine of justification was a called justification. The article upon which the church stands or falls.
Calvin called it the hinge upon which the door turns dated as the article by which you stand or fall, but the end of the chain is not predestination and the end of the golden chain is not effectual calling and the end of the golden chain is not justification.
What is it those whom he justified he also glorified. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the doctrine of glorification. All the rest of the links of this training we treat exhaustively foreknowledge Providence predestination gracious calling justification for all those as important as they are, we have to say. So what until we get to the end of the chain which is glorification another three reasons I don't want to be guilty being glib with their three reasons why we worry now about our future happiness.
If we discover when we arrive in heaven that friends and relatives, even spouses are not there. There's three reasons why we worry about that and worry about justification of holy war that would just heard about this because we don't understand three things. The first one is we don't know who God is. We really don't know what it means that God is holy, that is so foreign to our experience so alien to our own existence that we have almost no grass whatsoever about the character and the nature of God.
In fact, we are so baffled by God's holiness that more often than not, we find it offensive. The second thing that we don't know is who we are. Sam is such a regular part of our experience a part of our nature that we say to her is human to forgive is divine as gifts because it is so human of us the sin that God is somehow obligated to forgive when I who we are in the third thing we don't know is what this glorification means that when we think about heaven, which is not often enough.
What usually provokes your thinking about heaven, what are you looking forward to about heaven.
I know when I think about heaven.
I think about my legs will be will be hurting anymore.
I went to get a new body.
You need a hearing aid need glasses to take pills every day all the aches and pains that are a part of growing older will go away.
I would have a new body is one that God will fashion is not to be made out of titanium that causes me to be stopped.