Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 (NIV)
When the criminal on the cross next to Jesus expressed his faith, he was assured of his place in paradise. Our journey’s end in this life is the beginning of something far superior – God’s vision of paradise.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NIV)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are on a road to an eternal existence with Him in paradise. Preparations are being made for us and Jesus has promised to return and escort us home at the chosen time.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV)
This ultimate reward for serving God in this lifetime is not something that comes without a price. Our home in paradise is contingent on our faith in Jesus demonstrated by our sincere dedication to following His teachings in this lifetime. This is not an empty journey we are traveling in this world. God has placed us here for a reason. Each of us has a mission. Many of us will struggle through this life; in fact, I think it’s safe to say there will be some struggle for each and every one of those who believe. Evil is actively pursuing the destruction of God’s goodness and we are on the front lines of that battle. Nevertheless, the outcome has been assured and our immortality is absolutely guaranteed. There will, without question, be victory.
“Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NIV)
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