“…we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.” Colossians 1:5
Is believing in the claims of the Gospel really anything more than securing “fire insurance?” Trusting in the reality of a heaven, having a genuine belief in life beyond your demise is cynically referred to by mockers as mere “fire insurance,” while ridiculing any assurance the Christian may have of eternal life. Hell, being the opposite of heaven, has been described biblically as a “lake of fire,” so attaining some assurance of avoiding it is by inference, “fire insurance.” Well, so it is, though there will be those who consider such terminology crass to describe your all-in claim of the Christian hope. Having faith in Jesus, having a love for all other believers, Paul says in this passage, stems from having a hope of heaven.
You can certainly put it as simply “fire insurance.” But it becomes so much more than this in reality when the great benefit of avoiding the punishment of hell fades in light of what transpires in your own soul: namely, an overwhelming unity with and deeply satisfying love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and, consequently, a never ending love for everyone whom He loves. All this because of your hope in heaven.
It may begin as a sigh, such as, “I do not need to live any more in utter fear that hell is a real possibility for me.” How your faith grasps the literal reality of hell and any potential of ending up there is too dreadful to contemplate. The hope of heaven may be the starting point for a serious faith, but when such faith blossoms into a love relationship with Christ, the despair of hell fades in the piercing light of knowing Him. The focus becomes not “I have escaped hell,” but I have gained the greatest thing in the universe; I have Christ.
“Fire insurance” actually becomes your last thought. It doesn’t rise to the level of what is preeminently yours: namely, adoption into God’s family through an intimate relationship with His Son, from which you can never be separated. The unbeliever, the skeptic, the mocker cannot even imagine what is chiefly yours; so the only description which makes sense to him in his unbelief is you are only seeking “fire insurance,” which he does not have, nor think he needs, nor understands. A skeptic, he is literally playing with fire, for his mockery will one day bring him to shame. His own tongue will condemn him.
“Fire insurance”? So much more! “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and declare in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Saved from death and hell, saved to eternal fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” With that in your future do you really worry about insurance from hell when you have Jesus, and will be like him through eternity?
“When I stand before the throne, dressed in beauty not my own, when I see thee as thou art, love thee with unsinning heart, then Lord shall I fully know, not till then, how much I owe.”
(3rd verse of Robert Murray McCheyne’s hymn, “When This Passing World Is Done,” 1837)