Heaven Or Dancing With The Devil
02.01.22 | The Shepherd's Voice | by Don Treglown
A parishioner dozed off to sleep during the sermon on Sunday morning. “Will all who want to go to heaven please stand, the pastor said. The entire congregation stood except for the lone sleeping parishioner. The pastor motioned them to all sit down and continued, speaking dramatically, “Now all who want to dance with the devil, please stand.” Just then, someone dropped a hymnal on the floor, and the sleeping man jumped to his feet and looked around sheepishly, “Well, pastor, I don’t know what we’re voting for, but it looks like you and I are the only ones for it.”
As funny as that sounds, being judged is not something we like or want by others. The truth is that Lutherans believe that Scripture teaches that at the moment of death the souls of believers enter the joy of heaven (Luke 23:43; Acts 7:59; Rev. 14:13), while the souls of unbelievers at death are consigned to “the prison”” of everlasting judgment in hell (1 Peter 3:19-20; Acts 1:25).
So, the departed souls remain in heaven or hell until the Day of Judgment, when they shall be reunited with their own bodies.
It is sobering and a daily reminder that in the moment of death souls of the believers enter the joy of heaven. It is good for us to remember that whoever dies in the Lord is blessed “from henceforth” (Revelation 14:13). For this reason, we pray that finally, when our last hour has come, God would grant us a blessed end and graciously take us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.
I find one of my greatest comforts is that the one who continues in the faith unto the end has nothing to fear for their soul after death or for their body and soul on the Day of Judgment. So, I agree to stand for to be counted as one who desires heaven but understands that the world, my flesh, and sin makes “dancing with the devil” attractive.
That is why, for me, Revelation 21:3-4 reads like a prayer:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Here I Stand,
Pastor Don Treglown