A holier, happier, sublimer, and more durable world than this!
(William Nicholson, 1862)
"And this is what He promised us — even eternal life!" 1 John 2:25
This poor world is full of sin, sorrow, pain, and death. If we had this life only — we would be most miserable. But the Christian has an unfailing hope of a holier, happier, sublimer, and more durable world than this! This hope supports him in every scene of earthly conflict and distress.
As the mariner tossed by the storm and tempest — hopes to gain the desired haven;
as the traveler fatigued by the perils and toils of his journey — hopes to reach his own beloved home;
as the soldier harassed by conflict in the field of battle — hopes to conquer and to wear the victor's crown
— so the Christian pilgrim in the midst of his strenuous labors — hopes that he will . . .
successfully brave all the storms of life,
finish his course,
fight the good fight of faith, and then
lay hold on eternal life in his Father's house above!
Believers shall enjoy eternal life in Heaven as . . .
the residence of the ever blessed God,
His palace of splendor,
the habitation of His holiness,
the place where His honor dwells,
the dwelling-place of angels and perfected spirits.
1. Heaven is a place of inexpressible felicity, as it appears from its names . . .
the paradise of God,
a building from God,
a mansion of God,
a heavenly city,
a better country,
a priceless inheritance,
an eternal kingdom,
an unfading crown of glory,
peace, rest, and joy of the Lord.
2. Heaven will be a life of complete purity. Sin, in this world, is the great source of estrangement from God — it is that which constantly vexes and distresses the soul. But in Heaven sin can never enter to defile, "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life!" Revelation 21:27.
We shall be faultless, and like God! Jude 24; Ephesians 5:26-27; 1 John 3:2; Psalm 17:15.
3. Heaven will be a life of perfect happiness. There is no perfect happiness in this poor world. Life here is like the fluctuations of the sea, or weather — calms and storms, sunshine and clouds.
Sorrow is frequently the lot of God's people. Some are afflicted under the hand of God — or mourning the loss of relatives or friends — or sunk into deep adversity. Some are weeping over the sins of others — parents over their children, pastors over their flocks, and Christians over the wickedness of the world.
But all the causes of evil will be annihilated in Heaven:
sin shall distress no more,
Satan shall tempt no more,
sickness shall pain no more,
the tyrant shall oppress no more,
death shall bereave and destroy no more. "Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd! He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes!" Revelation 7:16-17
4. Heaven will be a life of the greatest honor.
A. They will be raised to a kingdom! "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom!" Luke 12:32. What can be received, more than a kingdom? It is the highest dignity known on earth. Who can be higher than a king?
B. It will be a life of honor which conquerors obtain. Crowns of victory are in reserve! "Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads!" Here on earth, they wear a crown of thorns — but there they will wear a diadem of glory!
It will be an incorruptible crown, not a fading laurel, etc. 1 Corinthians 9:25. No length of time will terminate the dominion of the saints, or tarnish the luster of their crowns. They shall reign forever and ever!
It is called a crown of righteousness, 2 Timothy 4:7. It was purchased by the righteousness of Christ, and is given, wholly for His sake, to His redeemed people.
It is a crown of life, meaning they shall never die! "The crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him!" James 1:12; Revelation 2:10.
It is a crown of gold, Revelation 4:4, to denote the priceless and lasting honor to which they will be advanced, and the superlative wealth of the kingdom which they will possess.
C. They shall sit upon a throne — the throne of Christ! "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne!" Revelation 3:21 — that lofty throne, that expansive throne, in which He will make room for all His faithful soldiers.
5. Heaven will be a a life of rich enjoyment.
A. Heaven is represented as a feast, "Many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast!" Matthew 8:11.
B. Heaven is represented as a marriage supper, "Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!" Revelation 19:9.
C. Heaven is represented as a life of enjoyment in the best society — God Himself, angels, and glorified saints!
D. Heaven is represented as enjoyment of the beatific vision of God, when we shall see Him face to face, and understand the mysteries of creation, providence, and grace. Then the enraptured soul will exclaim, "You have done all things well!"
6. To crown all, Heaven is called eternal life. Most of the Scriptural representations of Heaven are combined with adjectives expressive of endless perpetuity. Hence Heaven is called . . .
the everlasting kingdom,
the incorruptible inheritance,
the exceeding and eternal weight of glory, etc., etc.
If a miser could insure his wealth for eternity, that alone would be Heaven enough for him. But it is his misery when he dies, that he can carry none of his riches away with him. But he who lays up treasure in Heaven need not fear moth or rust, or thief — all is eternally secure!