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Heaven

by H. G. Mathews Mar Barnabas, Indian Orthodox Church

1. What is heaven?

It is the eternal bliss which God is enjoying.

2. How can we inherit heaven?

When we are freed from sin and we grow to perfection, as the heavenly Father is perfect. (St. Matthew 5:48)

3. What has God done to give us heaven? God has redeemed us from heaven through the sacrifice of our Lord. Our Lord said, "This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (St. Matthew 26:28)

Our Lord has given us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us rebirth. Our Lord said, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (St. John 3:5). The Holy Spirit fills us with divine love. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).

4. What are we to do to inherit heaven?

a) We should believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. Deacon Philip baptized the eunuch when he declared his faith in Jesus. The eunuch said, "See here is water. What is to prevent my being baptized? And Philip said, `If you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he replied, `I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'" (Acts 8: 36-38)

b) As St. Peter says repentance, baptism, and the reception of the Holy Spirit are necessary. Peter said to them "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit helps us to do deeds of love and grow in love.

5. What else are we to do to inherit heaven?

a) We must receive Holy Qurbana. Our Lord said, "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day." (St. John 6:54)

b) We have to obey the commandments of God. Our Lord said, "If a man loves me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (St. John 14:23)

6. Why should we confess our sins before receiving Holy Qurbana?

St. Paul says, "Whoever therefore eats the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup." (1 Corinthians 11: 27-28)

7. Why should we baptize infants?

We should make the Holy Spirit to work in infants as early as possible. We teach children to speak even when they have not begun to understand. Through God's grace the child learns to speak and then to understand. In a similar way the Holy Spirit begins to work in infants as we teach the infants spiritual things. When they grow up they will begin to understand.

St. Peter says, "For the promise (the gift of the Spirit mentioned in verse 38) is to you and to your children (infants or tekna in Greek) and to all those who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." (Acts 2:39)

We are following what the church was doing from the beginning, as children were considered as members of one unit, the family.

See Also:

How To Follow Jesus
It is a wrong notion in Christian life that leading a Pius life brings us all materialistic favors from God. The only answer of innocent suffering in our life is the imitation of our Lordís suffering. To culminate our spirituality we need to deny our self, carry His Cross and follow him unto the last.

Have You Been Saved?
Christians are people who have been saved: the time when they first put their trust in Jesus Christ marks the beginning of their experience of Salvation.

Gospel is about The Kingdom of God
'The Kingdom of God' This is the primary and predominant theme in the Gospel. It was to make a fallen creation aware of this, that the Lord became incarnate.

Look to Jesus
If we are crucified with Christ in the flesh, then we will live in Christ. Our eyes will be lifted unto the Lord Jesus Christ as our example. We will see how He went before us, and we can follow in His footsteps and live by His faith. When we see His example, our faith is fixed upon the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Power of His Resurrection
To know Christ is to know the power of His resurrection. All the powers of Satan and death could not hold Him.

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