I have long suspected that many Christians dread not just death but heaven. We won't admit that, of course. Our hymnody, of whatever era, is filled with songs about the joy of the afterlife, and "what a day of rejoicing that will be." We're glad we're not going to hell or to oblivion. But most of our songs and sermon mentions are about that first few moments in heaven: when we see Jesus, when we're reunited with our loved ones, and so on. It's like the happy ending of the story. And that's the problem.
The gospel tells us that Satan keeps unbelievers bound by fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15). Believers, too often, dread death also, though not as much from fear as from boredom. We see the story of our lives as encompassing this span of seventy or eighty or a hundred years. The life to come is our "great reward" in "the afterlife."
But just think about that word "afterlife." It assumes eternity is an endless postlude to where the action really happens. It's "after." Our "reward" happens after we've lived our lives. Here's why this language matters.
[Read the rest of the article at Moore to the Point.]