I was very surprised recently to run into some Christians that refuse to say that Christians will go to heaven. Their reasoning was that that way of looking at it was too materialistic; instead we should just say that we are going to be with God. But we should never let human reasoning overrule God (Isaiah 55:8-9). This “too materialistic” argument reminds me of the rational that eating the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week makes Communion too commonplace (less special) so we shouldn’t follow the example of Acts 20:7 in that regard. Of course, as with any Bible question, human rational such as “that is too materialistic” is irrelevant (Prov 14:12); the only thing that matters is – do the scriptures teach the Christians’ reward is heaven or not? What does the Bible say on this topic?
First, if the faithful are admittedly going to be with God in eternity, doesn’t that also say we will be in heaven since texts like Matt 6:9 (“Our Father which art in heaven”) show that heaven is where God is?
The very point of II Cor 5:1 (“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”) is that on earth our body/house is temporary in nature, but later we will have an “eternal” lasting body/house in heaven Note: Don’t be thrown off by the fact that the word “heavens” is plural in the verse – the Bible many times uses the plural to refer to the spiritual heaven where God is – for example in Luke 12:33, Acts 2:33-34, Acts 7:56, Heb 4:14, and Heb 8:1. Let me repeat the pertinent thought of that verse: Jesus’ disciples will be in heaven.
Matt 5:10-12 shows that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake in this life can be glad because they will receive “reward in heaven.” Luke 6:23 reiterates the same. Where will we receive our reward? – “in heaven” is what God says … so forget what man says.
Matt 6:19-21 teaches we should lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth, and Matt 19:21 says we will eventually have that treasure in heaven. These verses are not that hard to understand, are they?
In John 14:1-3 Jesus taught he would soon go to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us there. We know he is talking about heaven because that is the Father’s house (where the Father is), and because we know heaven is where Jesus ascended to some days after his resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). The text goes on to say Jesus is going to receive us there, that is, into heaven. That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?
Col 1:5a reads “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven …,” so the Christian’s hope is heaven and what awaits us there. I Pet 1:3-4 says that hope involves “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” The point of both passages is that our hope/inheritance awaits us in heaven.
Heb 10:34 reads “For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” The point of the verse is that Christians could cheerfully face the spoiling of their goods (via persecution) since they knew they would eventually receive in heaven goods (substance) that are more enduring.
Conclusion: The Bible teaches the faithful Christian’s final reward will be realized in heaven. There is really no need to jump on the bandwagon of every little teaching fad that comes along.