Christianity: Heavenly schmalz

I was speaking to a pastor, in my eyes and those of many many others devout and loving in so many ways. A large part of his ministry is comforting the dying and the bereaved. He also suffered terrible bereavement in his life, and is an example to us all of his courage. He told me of a woman who discovered she has cancer. She is responsible for many orphans. I asked the pastor whether the woman was a Christian and how old she was. He said she is a Christian and is 80 years old. I said, “What does it matter is she dies, she will be going home.” He asked what would happen to the orphans under her care. I said, as God was in control of everything and if she dies God has ordained it so. God will find someone else to look after her orphans. I asked, “Isn’t it your desire to go home to be with the Lord.” He replied that heaven was abstract, just an idea in the head.

Here are two verses of the popular song “How deep is the father’s love for us,” which he probably has sung in church at various times.

Verse 1

I just want to be where You are,

dwelling daily in Your presence

I don’t want to worship from afar,

draw me near to where You are

Verse 2

I just want to be where You are,

in Your dwelling place forever

Take me to the place where You are,

I just want to be with You

 just want to (wanna) be

I just want to (wanna) be with You

Here is a comment on a Youtube version of the song:. Lord take me to your home, I receive the anointing of the holy ghost. in Jesus name amen.

What does the “worshiper” think these words mean: “Take me to the place where you are, I just want to be with you?” The Bible says (many times in the letters of Paul) that to be a Christian is to be “in Christ” and “Christ in you.” Christians are born of God (born again), which entails that Christ lives – through the Holy Spirit – in them. So far, we are dealing with the notion to be “in Christ.” Once regenerated (quickened, raised to spiritual life), believers are enabled and therefore can choose the good things of God. If, though, believers don’t only want to be in Christ but also with Christ, that I would call radical radical Christianity. Radical Christianity is be consumed with living in and for Christ.; radical radical Christianity is “I want to be with Christ – and I want it now. Here is the Apostle Paul: Philippians 1:21-23 – “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”

Jeremy Walker, in his “Life in Christ: Becoming and Being a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ,” explains the difference between being in Christ and with Christ, where “the anticipation of the dying saint” is to be with the Lord:

To lack food is terrible; to lack money is distressing; to lack health is miserable; to lack friends is tragic; but to lack Christ is to lack the greatest and most necessary good-it is the most awful situation imaginable. If we had Christ, all else could be borne, but to live and die without Christ makes any number of other blessings little better than dust and ashes in our mouths. Second, someone might be with Christ. If to be without Christ is the height of woe, then to be with Christ is the pinnacle of bliss, for this is the very joy and blessing of glory. To be “present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 528) is the heaven of heaven. There is no greater joy, no happier prospect, no sweeter moment than to have the eye actually rest upon the Lord Christ, the glorified Savior of sinners. This is the anticipation of the dying saint, the prospect for the resurrection that makes every other hint of the glory to come shine with golden light. However, if we are to be with Christ when we die or taken to be with Him when He returns, we need to bear in mind that no one will ever be with Christ unless they are first in Christ.”
(See I wanna be with you; but not yet).

If you are a Christian ask yourself whether you include yourself in the “we” below. If not your religion is schmaltz.

2 Cor 5

1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

2 thoughts on “Christianity: Heavenly schmalz

  1. I know that I’m being crass, but guys, don’t long for physical death. It’ll come all too soon. Life on earth may be God’s gift to us. Maybe that’s all there is. Perhaps it is sacrilege to dream beyond it . . . ? Just a thought.

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