Two things to look forward to in the resurrection.

Have you ever wondered what heaven will be like? I often have and often still do. God has given us information to keep us wondering. It is like a birthday present that a little child receives. The child knows something about the present and though it is wrapped they know what size and shape it is they also know how heavy it is and sometimes whether it rattles or not! They have enough knowledge to be really excited about it whilst still having true suspense because they really don’t know what is inside the paper. Heaven is like this in many ways for us who look forward to the resurrection; we know some things about what it will be like but whilst God has given us enough knowledge to excite us He has also left us in suspense.

I have been recently thinking about heaven (or glory as it may be better termed) in the course of the Emmanuel guided reading course. Whilst studying I have been encouraged by two things that I want to share with you.

The first thing that encourages me about the resurrection is that we will know God a thousand times better than we know Him now and will enjoy very close fellowship with Him. 1 John 3:2 tells us: “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.” (ESV).  Isn’t that an amazing thought? When we become Christians we can say that we ‘know’ God in a very special way that we didn’t before. We know God the Father as our Father, we know Jesus Christ as our saviour and we know the Holy Spirit as our comforter and guide.

In John 17:3 Jesus praying to God says: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”. As Christians we have begun to know God now and yet we will know him so much more fully in the resurrection because we will see Him as he is. We will see his great plan that he had stretching over history- the most beautiful of tapestries. We will know fully the extent of the punishment that Christ took on our behalf on the cross and we will begin to understand something in the word ‘love’ that we never knew.

The second thing that makes me really look forward to the resurrection is that we will be totally clear from sin and the results of sin. We know that Christ came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). We also know from the Westminster Shorter Catechism that sin is “Any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God”. If that is what sin is then it makes it pretty obvious to us all that we are sinful and need saving! Because God loves us so much he sent Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus was willing to stand in our place as a substitute to take the punishment of the curse of God that we deserve. We know that “whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

The problem is that whilst God offers a way of salvation we still have a natural and perverted desire to break his laws. We will only ever be free from this when we get to the resurrection. The great thing about the resurrection is not only that we are saved but that we will have a good view on history! Jonathan Edwards in some of his theological reflections comments that we will no longer have any remorse for sin for two reasons; a. because we shall know fully how that sins was used by God for his own glory. b. because we shall know that that sin is dealt with by Christ’s death on the cross. What we can look forward to in Glory is the fact that we will no longer be entangled by sinful desires or actions. We will see sin it’s proper light - in fact, as God sees it!

I can’t wait to see Christ face to face and not be embarrassed by my sins because I shall know that it is all dealt with! If you know what you are looking forward to beyond death why be scared by death? My only remorse is that I cannot paint, even slightly accurately, what it will be like. But I do know that it will be really really good!!

By Thomas van den Broek

1 comment:

  1. I know you wrote this a week ago but I've been meaning to say thank you, Thomas, for this.

    Heaven and the whole life-and-death issue have seemed a lot more real and closer since my grandmother's death five months ago; it's made me look at life and my relationship with God in a new way. So it was very interesting to read this, after thinking a lot about it. I was really encouraged by your excitement and the verses you quoted are really good! Thank you so much. :-)

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