This morning, my mother posed an interesting question to me. The husband of one of her close friends recently passed away rather unexpectedly. This caused her friend to ask my mother if her husband will know her in heaven, which then prompted my mother to ask me. What follows is a portion of the explanation that I gave to her. I hope you find it enlightening and inspiring.
The concepts of personal recognition and marriage in heaven are an often discussed topic. There are many Bible verses that shed light on each of these issues.
Beginning with personal recognition, I believe the Bible supports that we will recognize others in heaven. One example is the account of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31. Since Jesus didn’t identify this story as a parable, I think it is correct to assume that it is a real account. That being said, the rich man recognized Abraham after he had died. Thus, although they hadn’t met (at least the Bible doesn’t record it), he did recognize Abraham. Thus, we can infer that there is a personal recognition after death. I do believe that the type of understanding we will have in heaven is beyond what our finite minds can comprehend now. The apostle Paul alluded to this when he wrote his first letter to the church in Corinth, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB).
Moving on to the issue of marriage in heaven, the Bible is clear on this subject. In three of the four Gospels, Jesus Himself spoke on this issue. When questioned by the Sadducees about whose wife a woman who had multiple husbands would be, Jesus responded by saying, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25). There are parallel accounts contained in Matthew 22:23-30 and Luke 20:27-36.
So, the short answer to both issues is that based on the Bible, we will have personal recognition, but there will be no more marriages in heaven. There is no need for marriages since our purpose for eternity is to serve and worship God Himself.
That leaves me with one final point. These questions only pertain to those who inherit the kingdom of heaven. There are many misleading beliefs and doctrines regarding salvation. And, since it has eternal importance, I think it best to briefly cover it here.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say to receive Jesus into our heart. Unfortunately, there are many people who have done this or told others to do this as a means for salvation. This, however, is not Biblically based, so I believe it is one of the lies from the devil to trick people into thinking they are saved, when in fact they are not.
The Bible also does not say to receive Jesus as Savior. Before you throw stones at me for this, please hear me out. This is a common misunderstanding, and one that I fell into throughout a large part of my life. Jesus is in fact our Savior, but we are not called to receive Him as Savior.
I could go on about the other “means” of salvation that I have heard of, which range from “I am a good person” to “I go to church every Sunday, sometimes even on Wednesday,” but I think you understand my point by now.
What then does the Bible say about how to inherit salvation? The answer to this is as clear as reading what is commonly referred to as the Romans Road, which I will explain here.
Romans 3:23 : “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This means that we have all sinned in our lives, in addition to inheriting a sin nature. In fact, the Bible says elsewhere that if we say we have no sin, the truth is not in us.
Romans 6:23 : “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A wage is something we earn, so this verse is saying that based on our sin, we have earned death. This applies in the limited sense to physical death, but also to an eternal death meaning an eternal separation from God in Hell. But, the good news of the second part of that verse is that we can inherit the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. The key is those last two words “our Lord”. It is only when we accept the Lordship of Christ that we can inherit salvation. Lord means boss or master. It includes repentance and turning from our way of living and submitting to His way of living. But, it goes beyond repentance to a lifestyle of continual submission to His Lordship.
Romans 10:9-10 : “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.” This is the clearest verse in the Bible for how to be saved. First, we must confess Jesus as Lord. This is a public acknowledgment of submitting to His Lordship that I previously discussed. Of course, our words must match our heart and mind, otherwise they are meaningless. Secondly, we must believe that Jesus was resurrected. This is the crux of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, everything else is meaningless. The resurrection not only confirmed that Jesus was who He said He was, but it also provided a future hope for those of us who believe on Him!
Romans 10:13 : “for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'” This means that there is no exclusion principle. Salvation is available to anyone willing to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This also leaves men without excuse!
In summary, there is personal recognition in heaven, but there are no marriages. However, this topic is only applicable to those who are truly saved. Jesus alluded to the fact multiple times that there are many who think they are saved and going to heaven, but really aren’t. Only those who have submitted to and verbally confessed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and believe in the resurrection are truly saved.
Finally, please don’t complain that there is only one way to inherit salvation…..rather rejoice that there is a way!