A TASTE OF HEAVEN, A GLIMPSE OF HELL
by Dave Brown
Mark 10:28-30: “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
These are profound words and, at first glance, appear to contradict the statements of Jesus about counting the cost. But the difference is in the simple statement of Paul (Rom. 6:23): “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” What we are expected to give up are the wages of sin. What we obtain is the freedom from death and the gift of eternal life. It is a free gift because there is nothing that we did (or can do) to justify our sinful selves or to merit it.
The statement of Jesus above elaborates on a definition of faith given by the writer of the book of Hebrews (11:1): “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We hope for eternal life, but we cannot see it as a reality at this time. If we could spend just one minute in heaven and one minute in hell we would have no problem committing ourselves to Christ. But this would also remove our free will from us, and our religion would no longer require faith.
In Mark 10:28f, Jesus says that even in this world we can get a taste of heaven. We can see the love most Christians have for one another, and that they cherish each other even closer than their own families, who may have long forsaken them. Then there are the houses and lands — God will not forsake his people, as David said in Psalms 37:25.
This world also gives us a glimpse of the horrors of hell. For what are the terrible plagues of Kosovo and Littleton but the consequences of sin that creates an environment of hatred? There is no happier life than that of a faithful Christian. Count the cost, and realize that your eternal destiny depends entirely on what you choose to believe — God’s word or the teaching of man. It is purely a matter of faith, since your life will be shaped by what you choose to believe.