When you hear the word “spiritual” certain images come to mind. You think of someone very quiet and contemplative. Or maybe you picture someone with hands raised in a demonstrative expression of worship. You may think of your spontaneous, free-wheeling, “Spirit-led” friend. The spiritual person in your mind may be the young woman deeply interested in miracles and mystery, or maybe the old man earnestly pursuing a relationship with a higher power. To be “spiritual” in our day is to be vaguely interested in the supernatural and loosely committed to practices like prayer and meditation.
Historically, the Reformed understanding is that Christ’s “passive obedience” and his “active obedience” both refer to the whole of Christ’s work. The distinction highlights different aspects, not periods, of Christ’s work in paying the penalty for sin (“passive obedience”) and fulfilling the precepts of the law (“active obedience”).
After writing about this new genre of I went to heaven books, I received many comments and emails asking me about biblical examples of those who glimpsed heaven—John in the book of Revelation, Paul in 2 Corinthians, Isaiah in his prophecy. I will address this briefly today.
Nathan W. Bingham:
I recently had the burdensome responsibility of writing the words that would memorialize the life of a loved one—the words on their tombstone. It was a heavy responsibility because, at least from a human and earthly perspective, I was being asked to sum up a person’s life in what amounts to no more than a tweet. In this sense, cemeteries across the world serve as guardians protecting what is for many all that remains of their earthly life—those few words etched in stone.