I’ve been privileged to speak at a lot of church camps and summer youth conferences. And a recurring theme at every single one of those is how to help students guard against the “spiritual high” they experience, only to have it come crashing back to earth after they’ve been home for a week.
Even as an adult, it still happens to me. I will speak at a conference, watch kids make life-changing, eternity-altering decisions, be surrounded by incredible musicians who lead and prompt spiritual experiences in the main services, and be fully devoted and completely consumed in godly things for a week. Then I go home, and after the initial excitement of seeing my family, I have a let down. Paying the bills, fixing cement cracks in the sidewalk, settling arguments with warring preschoolers at home – as joyous as those experiences can be, they aren’t quite the spiritual equivalent.
What Evans is affirming is that the spiritual high of Heaven will never wear off. And lest you believe that being on a “high” all the time would wear you out, remember you won’t be dealing with this earthly body.
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).
That promise we shall be like Him tells us a great deal about our resurrected bodies. We will function physically like the resurrected body of Jesus did. If you remember, Jesus walked through doors, passed through clouds, and while He was able to enjoy the benefits of earthly life like eating, He didn’t have to do it for nourishment. The supernatural bodies we receive in Heaven are reiterations of our earthly bodies but as God intended them to be – that is, apart from sin and its effects: glorified, eternal, perfect, and incapable of growing weary.
And since they are perfected versions of our physical, earthly bodies, we will be recognizable and known. When people foolishly lament that “we won’t know people” in Heaven like we know them here on earth, they are failing to acknowledge the testimony of Scripture. Remember this account after the resurrection of Jesus:
Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned toward Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Teacher!’ (John 20:16)
This was the resurrected body of Jesus, yet it still looked like Him. Mary knew Him. And shortly after that encounter, Jesus appeared to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:1-35). After intentionally disguising Himself, He allows the eyes of His disciples to be opened and they immediately recognize Him.
If we are assured in First John that we shall be like Him (3:2), we too will be our recognizable selves. There’s additional evidence of this reality back when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain. There, two heavenly forms appeared with Him. And Peter, who had been accompanying Jesus, knew who they were:
Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters – one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah’ (Matthew 17:4).
So here’s what we know about our appearances in Heaven. You will be you and I will be me, keeping our races and cultures, but seeing them glorified in the perfect “one race” perspective that God always intended. We will participate in an eternity of kingdoms and nations of men (Revelation 21:24, 26) but our flaws, imperfections, and weaknesses will be totally eliminated.
There’s a tendency to think only about the lack of disease, physical pain, and effects of aging when we talk about these perfected bodies of Heaven. But since Heaven is the complete removal of the curse, we will be reaching our full potential as image-bearers of the Creator. And that means our minds and mental capacity are going to be perfected as well...