A woman was asked by her husband, “Will there be golf in heaven?” She wisely replied, “If it is necessary for your eternal bliss—Yes!” His question and her response suggest that our idea of heaven is everything we enjoy on earth, only more so! So if the boss gives you 50-yard-line seats at the Super Bowl, you think you’ve “died and gone to heaven,” while your wife’s idea of heaven might be a few days on a tropical island with blue sky, white sand, azure ocean, warm sun, and candlelit dinners for two. Who knows? But Scripture speaks of heaven in a way that should not be left to speculation or relegated to somewhere in “the sweet bye-and-bye.”
God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ” (Eph. 1:3). It is clear that this is not reserved for the future, because God “raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms” (2:6). The tenses say it all: “he raised us;” “we are seated;” “we are one with Christ Jesus.” We‘re already there!
When God saves people, he transports them from where they were to where they will be. They were “dead,” now they are alive. They were “under God’s anger” (2:3), now they are seated “in the heavenly realms.” So in one sense, heaven is not something we anticipate to be like the best of earth but better. Instead, it is something that we experience now while we may be going through some of the worst of earth!
What then are these “heavenly realms” (1:3)? John Stott helpfully suggests that the heavenly realms are “the unseen world of spiritual reality.”11 It is there that we experience “every spiritual blessing,” and it is there that the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” are being educated by God (3:10). The emphasis is on spiritual reality.
Experiencing life in the heavenly realms is all about being related to the risen Christ, having immediate access to him in his glory, and enjoying security in his love. It is in this invisible realm of spiritual reality that you have all that you need to live wisely, winsomely, and well. So rather than thinking longingly of something like pristine beaches or 50-yard-line Super Bowl seats, why not rejoice in the abundance of blessings that make the invisible realm as real as the material? Enjoy where you are right now, while you’re on the way to where you’re going sooner or later.
For Further Study: Ephesians 1:3-14