While desiring to be at home with the Lord in Heaven is not a sin, it’s important for Christians to walk by faith and trust in God’s promises amid earthly pain and suffering, theologian John Piper said.
In a recent podcast, Piper, chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, responded to a listener identified as Marissa, who asked if it was wrong to desire death as an escape from the pain of this world and from the suffering caused by her own sinfulness.
“I’m 31 years old, and my life is ruined,” she wrote. “I dread the rest of my life. Because of sin, I have lost everyone I love most (and I mean everyone). I feel like my very poor choices can’t be redeemed while here on earth, even though I have repented and confessed my sins.”
Piper first explained that the general biblical answer is that it is not a sin to long for Heaven and for the presence of Christ with a sense of dismay over the sin and sorrows of this world and of our own lives.
“In fact, I would say that the more one knows of the real condition of this world, and the more one grieves over the remaining corruption of our own hearts, the more natural it is to long for Heaven and Christ,” he said.
He pointed to the Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 1:23–25: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.”
“In general, to long to be at home with the Lord is not a sin. It is biblical, and it is healthy,” Piper said.
However, he clarified that the reason he said that’s the general answer “is that I can imagine a situation when it would be a sin to want to die and go to be with Jesus.”
Piper argued that in Scripture, Paul desired to be with Jesus but knew it was not yet God’s will for him.
“He took this from the hand of God with confidence that God would give him the strength and the grace for the life that was not his first choice,” he explained. “Concerning the life he was going to live as he remained on the earth, he said, ‘I know that I will remain and continue with you all, though my first choice would be to go and be with the Lord’ (see Philippians 1:23–25).”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett