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The realities of heaven are hard for us to comprehend. Perhaps that’s the reason that for decades we’ve been fed fantasies of Christians floating on clouds while playing little harps and Peter manning a gate to let people in or deny them entrance.

No surprise, I guess.

It doesn’t take long after we crack open the Book of Revelation to discover what Christians will truly encounter after they’ve died. I won’t place the verses here because they’re too long for this article, but what John witnesses is at once familiar and strange. He sees jewels that he recognizes, but they are describing how God appears, sitting on a throne. He hears and sees lightning, thunder, and fiery torches, but also a sea of glass, like crystal. Creatures are there, and although they are animals with which John is familiar, they are quite unlike those earthly creatures. All that John sees is glorious, stunning, and filled with worship.

So, that’s part of what you and I, if we are Christians, will behold someday. However, what I would like to focus on in this article is something that is as foreign to us as what John saw in his vision. It has to do with one of the activities of Christians in the heavenly kingdom.

“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” (1 Corinthians 6:1–3).1

To me, this approaches incomprehension. Christians are going to judge the world and angels? It is mystifying, but there is some biblical evidence to help support what Paul wrote, from Jesus Himself:

“The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:41–42).

Laurie and I were talking about this topic recently. She humorously expressed her concern that she wouldn’t be able to do that job because she knows how unrighteous so many of her thoughts are about people. I hope we can all say amen to this struggle that Christians have. As a pastor once said, “No one wants a digital readout on their forehead revealing what they’re thinking.” Yes, we are redeemed, saved, and new creations in Jesus. But we still have that nasty, old nature in us, hanging around and willing to do the bidding of sin and the devil. Paul addresses this conundrum.

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18–19).

This challenge won’t end until the day we die. But the following passage helps us understand why all that will change someday.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20–21).

We will have bodies like Jesus in God’s heavenly kingdom. Our sinful flesh, which is of the earth and temporary, will be gone. There will be no sin in God’s heavenly kingdom whatsoever.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).

Yes, Christian, you will be part of the judgment of people and angels. But do not be concerned. Only righteousness will be present in that heavenly judgment.

Thank You, Lord God Almighty, for Your righteousness freely given to sinners like me. Thank You, although I feel monumentally unequipped for the task, that I will have the opportunity to participate in judgment of men and angels. I am overwhelmed at the thought of it.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy giphy.

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