|October 12, 2014|
I'll admit, the idea of purposefully contemplating heaven was a brand new thing to me until August 2014. I've never been very interested in studying heaven. I have been content to know that it is the place that God dwells and because of Jesus Christ's blood poured out for my sins, I will go there. Then I read a little blue book by Sam Storms and chapter 9 made me stop in my tracks.
Storms argued that "the consistent witness of Scripture is that we should make heaven and its beauty the object of our contemplating energy, not for the purpose of fueling theological speculation but to equip us for life here and now."
Such Scriptures as 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Colossians 3:1-4, and 1 Peter 1: 3-9 come to mind.
Jesus Christ died and rose again so that when we die, we can be raised into the presence of God forever. He gave us the Holy Spirit so that we can get ready for life in heaven.
There is a lot here on this earth to enjoy and it is all meant to turn our attention to the one who granted it to us, namely God Himself.
Storms also shared these words, "To whatever degree we relish and rejoice in the beauty of God now, it is but a faint foretaste of the eternal feast we will enjoy in heaven in the age to come..."
"Our only hope for satisfaction of soul and joy of heart in this life comes from looking intently at what we can't see. Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty of the age to come."
Christian, this is why you must be about the business of contemplating heaven. Until we begin to eagerly anticipate being with God forever and being comforted and satisfied and kept by Him now, we will find ourselves far too attached and bedazzled by the good things on this earth. A quiet Sunday will be devastating to us when really, it shouldn't.
"The essence of heaven is the vision of God and the eternal increase of joy in Him. Heaven might well be summed up in the declaration: 'They will see His face' (Rev. 22:4)!" Storms gave these five "immediate and practical implications of the soul's intense longing for it [heaven]."
1. A contemplative focus on the beauty of heaven frees us from excessive dependence upon earthly wealth and comfort.
2. A contemplative focus on heaven enables us to respond appropriately to the injustices of this life.
3. A contemplative focus on heaven produces the fruit of endurance and perseverance now.
4. Nothing exerts such purifying power on the heart as the contemplative focus on heaven.
5.Concentrating on the glory of heaven teaches us about the essence of true religion, namely, the holy affections with which we will find ourselves captivated by God in heaven.
Christian, the joy awaiting you in heaven is clear. Jesus Christ's sacrifice made it yours. Be convinced of the power of looking forward to it!
Catch these posts if you missed them:
pt. 2 They Will See His Face