A solid theological view that I have is that “Who and what we are in character the day we die or Jesus returns, is who and what we are for eternity, God isn’t going to fix us.” To say that He will fix us makes the purpose of life merely treading water. The admonition to pursue maturity has no purpose outside this life. There is no real motivation to sacrifice, be diligent, press on, take up our cross daily, and be faithful to the basic disciplines of the Christian life if it doesn’t matter. The reason so many Christians today are lukewarm is that there is no compelling reason not to be.
So, let’s say that I am right in this view, though more than a view, a major conviction of my life, you enter eternity as a baby, not physically, but in character, what does it matter. Heaven is still heaven, and freedom and joy from all the pain and hassle of life is still freedom and joy, so no big deal.
Let’s go back to the beginning, “Let Us make man in our image and in our likeness”, why? Part of the answer is in John 14:1-3, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” “WHERE I AM THERE YOU MAY BE ALSO.” God created us to be with a Him, to fellowship with Him, to dine with Him, to rule with Him, and to enjoy Him and Him us.
A basic fact of intimacy in relationship is that the more like each other we are the more we will enjoy each other’s company. The most basic purpose of man is to “Glorify God by enjoying Him Forever”. Enjoying God isn’t something we choose to do, it is something we do because of our relationship with Him, and our relationship is greatly influenced by our sameness in character.
While Jesus was on this earth as a man he had levels of relationship with those in His life. John was called the “beloved”, he was given responsibility to care for Mary, Jesus Mother, he was closer to Jesus than any other, Peter was an obvious favorite, as well as James. From there you have the remaining 8, (we will leave out Judas), then there was the 70 disciples that Jesus sent out in pairs, the 120 who were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, invited there by Jesus, and then the 500 who saw Jesus after His resurrection.
When we get to heaven there will be those who are near Jesus, with Him, at His right hand, and there will be those who are not near. It has nothing to do with love, I loved each of my children when they were babies but I didn’t take them fishing with me until they could enjoy the experience, and I would enjoy their company.
The pursuit of character and maturity in this life is all about our relationship with Jesus forever, it is much more than just getting into heaven, it is how close we will be to Jesus when we get there.
The more we love Him the more we will want to be near Him, and the more mature our character the more capacity we will have to love Him.