The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon

Question: Relationships in Heaven

July 27, 2009

Will we desire relationships in Heaven with anyone except God?
By Randy Alcorn
Eternal Perspectives Ministries
, Sandy Oregon
Author of Bestselling book, Heaven

Genesis 2:18: The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

1 Thessalonians 2:17: Dear brothers and sisters, after we were separated from you for a little while (though our hearts never left you), we tried very hard to come back because of our intense longing to see you again.

God has designed us for relationship not only with himself but also with others of our kind. God planned for Adam, and all mankind, to need human companionship. In other words, God made people to need and desire others besides himself. Think of it—God was with Adam in the Garden, yet God said that wasn’t good enough. God designed us to need each other. What we gain from each other is more of God because we’re created in his image and are a conduit for his self-revelation.

Matthew 22:37-39: Jesus [said], “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus affirmed that the greatest commandment was to love God, but that the second, inseparable from the first, was to love our neighbor. He never considered these commands incompatible. He saw the second flowing directly from the first. One of the highest ways we love God is by loving people.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20: What gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy.

Paul anticipates his ongoing relationship with the Thessalonians as part of his heavenly reward. Isn’t this emphatic proof that it’s appropriate for us to deeply love people and look forward to being with them in Heaven?

Some falsely assume that when we give attention to people it automatically distracts us from God. But even now, in a fallen world, people can turn my attention to God. Was Jesus distracted from God by spending time with people on Earth? Certainly not. In Heaven, no person will distract us from God. We will never experience any conflict between worshiping God himself and enjoying God’s people. Our source of comfort isn’t only that we’ll be with the Lord in Heaven but also that we’ll be with each other. We’ll sit at feasts not only with God, but with his people. That is his design, and we should look forward to it.

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JOhn July 27, 2009

Was it Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians he would be looking forward to, or was it that their presence in Heaven could be presented by Paul to God as one proof of his fulfillment of God’s commission to the Gentiles?

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