From the Pastors Desk:” For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
Most marvelous, in an overwhelming way, to know that someday we will be with him, Jesus the Lord! Not only to see him, but to be with him in the new heavens and new earth forever! It even gets better. All our deeds will follow us. One by one, Jesus will examine all the years both remembered or forgotten. Each and every event along with every idle word. If you have been wronged for his name sake, Jesus will recompense. If you have served, loved and honored the Father according to the scriptures, a favorable recompense will be had. If our deeds expressed love to one another, more blessings will be received. Just think, one day we will all vacate our earthly boundaries.
But what about the other side of the coin? You know the bad deeds. It's not too late. Surely as our breath remains in us, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse from all unrighteousness. The judge in heaven is the same one on earth, Jesus!
“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
(2 Corinthians 12:2&4)
Caught up into paradise! Here Paul is not only proclaiming that there is such a place; he also states that he has been there! Furthermore, Paul reveals where Paradise can be found, the third heaven.
The reference to paradise can be found in many secular songs. Always its meaning associates with one's heart's desire, pleasant of course. Take for instance this lyric, "this is paradise having no work to do" or "there's trouble in paradise;" expressing one's affections for another. These gems of carnal wisdom may sell songs and touch an emotional cord in one's heart, but they are a fraudulent misuse of the word "paradise." Paradise is not an emotion. It is an actual place created by God for his favorite children to dwell with him until the new heavens and new earth are arranged.
So, is there any way to have a personal experience with its' existence on earth? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) While he was on the cross and the thief who recognize Jesus for who he was received this oration, "today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
Not only did Paul visit God in a place called, "the third heaven or paradise," but Jesus, the thief and many others have gone there. As we see Jesus on the cross, where he bore the sins of many, allow his resurrected power to take us to where he sits at the right hand of God, then we are seeing paradise.
Dr. Thomas Snyder