Sunday, 29 November -0001 19:00

The Future Glory of God's Children

Written by Rev. G.R. Procee
The aim of life must be to enter glory. This life is a preparation for entering the heavenly glory and to be with the Lord forever. That should be our foremost aim. It is sad that many people have other aims in life. Also in the church we find people, sometimes even many, who have other aims. They live for this world only. How blessed we are when we have become strangers in the earth and have found the true purpose of our existence in the living God. In order to go to glory, three things happen to God's children. First, after death their souls will go to be with the Lord. Secondly, at the Second Coming of Christ, when the resurrection of the dead takes place, their bodies and souls are reunited. The third thing is that heaven and earth must be renewed.

A New Heaven and Earth
At the Second Coming of Christ the final judgment will take place. After that, the renewal of heaven and earth will happen. This total renewal is necessary because sin has infected everything. The Lord Jesus mentions this event in Matthew 19:28: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The expression Òa new heaven and a new earthÓ refers to our earth and heaven and not heaven as the dwelling place of God. It does not need to be renewed, but the universe will be renewed. In 2 Peter 3 it is stated that heaven and earth will dissolve. Creation will be delivered from the curse of sin and the corruptible shall put on incorruptible. Death and misery will be done away with and there will be perfect righteousness, light, glory and the most blessed harmony.

New Jerusalem
The new Jerusalem will descend from heaven upon earth and God will dwell with man. Heaven and earth will be united. Revelation 21 describes this new Jerusalem. It is made of pure gold, denoting its purity. It is a holy city, showing that it is dedicated to God. The city has the form of a cube, which refers to the perfect communion with God. The city is called a bride, which shows the eternal love between God and His people. There is a high wall around the city, indicating the protection and safety it provides. The twelve foundations refer to the doctrine of the apostles. The twelve gates show there is perfect and open communion with God.

There are also the golden streets, the fountains of living water and the tree of life. These refer to the fullness of salvation and communion with God. The throne of the Lamb is inside the city, showing ChristÕs governing power.

Everlasting Salvation
The Lord Jesus will usher His elect, His redeemed people, into the heavenly glories of the new Jerusalem. Various Scripture passages show this. This glory will commence immediately after this life, but will be fully worked out and received after the resurrection of the body, when God's children with body and soul will glorify the Lord.

There are many Scripture passages, which refer to this. Psalm 73:24 speaks of God receiving His child into glory. In John 14:2 the Lord Jesus declares that He is preparing a place for His people. In 2 Corinthians 5:1 the apostle explains that when our earthly bodies die and are dissolved God's children have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Hebrews 11:10 urges us to look for the city with real foundations: new Jerusalem. Matthew 25:21 speaks of entering into the joy of the Lord, while 2 Timothy 4:18 speaks about the crown of righteousness that is placed on the heads of GodÕs people. James 1:12 speaks about the crown of life. In John 17:24 the Lord Jesus prays: Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.

Are There Degrees of Glory in Heaven?
In heaven all God's children will be filled with overflowing happiness and felicity; that is, they will have perfect joy and delight. There will not be a desire for more, nor will this be possible. It will be impossible to be deprived of anything in glory, as Psalm 17:15 indicates: As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

Yet some will receive greater glory than others. Daniel 12:2 speaks of the glory and eternal life that all God's children will receive, while in verse 3 a distinction is made between God's children in the sense that the one will receive more glory than the other. In 1 Corinthians 15:41-42 mention is made of a distinction between various kinds of glory: There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from [another] star in glory.

A difference in the rewards of God's children is indicated in 2 Corinthians 9:6: But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. The difference between reaping and receiving a reward does not refer to this life but the hereafter, because the difference in rewards is not always fulfilled in this life.

Consider also the parable of the ten pounds and the ten servants in Luke 19:12-19. The measure of the reward is given according to each person's profit. In 1 Corinthians 3:8, we read that every man shall receive a reward according to his labours: Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. This is not a contrast between good and the evil, but the apostle is comparing the work of the various servants and apostles of the Lord. Reference may also be made to Matthew 19:28, where Christ states that the twelve apostles will be seated on twelve thrones.

Is there Recognition in Heaven?
Concerning the question of recognition in heaven, Scripture does not reveal very much. The twelve apostles seated on thrones in glory will be recognized. The Lord Jesus speaks of seeing Abraham, Isaac and Jacob seated in the kingdom of heaven. The rich man in the fire calls on Abraham to send Lazarus to him, indicating recognition. Of course, God's children shall know God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the angels. Reference can also be made to the fact that the three disciples on the mount of transfiguration knew Moses and Elijah (cf. Mt.17: 3).

Some hold that in heaven there must be recognition because ignorance is an imperfection and everything will be perfect in heaven. God's children will also know from what they have been saved. They will sing praises because Christ has redeemed them unto God by His blood. This entails that they know they were redeemed from the life of sin and purchased by the Lord Jesus. It implies an awareness of sin in their life on earth and also the awareness of the miracle of grace that God has completely delivered them. They will have abundant reason to glorify the Lord and praise His righteousness, love and goodness.

But if there is recognition in heaven, will the absence of relatives on earth not cause sorrow? Brakel responds that the absence of relatives in heaven will not engender sorrow since all physical relationships and affections cease in heaven.

God's Children will have Full Use of their Senses
In heaven there will be a new language. God's children will have the ability to speak and use their senses, because the lack of speech or of their senses denotes imperfection. In heaven they will sing to the glory of the Lamb and proclaim the goodness of the Lord. They will see the glories of the Redeemer and hear the angelic hosts praising God. They will delight forever in GodÕs goodness.

The Glory of God's Children is Inexpressible
What constitutes the glory of God's children? It is the glory of Christ and the glory of the triune God. The Puritan, Isaac Ambrose, explains that the redeemed will reflect the glory of Christ that shines on them. What the glory in heaven will be cannot be expressed. It is not even fitting for humans with corrupt lips and minds to express. Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 12:4, where he relates that he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words, which are not lawful for a man to utter. David expresses this in Psalm 31:19: Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men!

The inexpressible and incomprehensible nature of this glory ought not to cause us to think less of our salvation, but it ought to stir us up to think of greater glory to come. The Lord has revealed much of heaven in His Word and at times He gives His children a foretaste of it.

God is good. The glories He has in store for His children are the very best and flow from His majestic and ever blessed Being. The inheritance He has prepared for His people is extraordinary. It is so outstanding that it is often portrayed in Scripture in negative terms such as Òno death,Ó Òno sickness,Ó Òno pain,Ó Òno tears,Ó etc. Salvation constitutes the ultimate hope for GodÕs children. This hope should characterize their life and actions. It should accompany them throughout their earthly pilgrimage, knowing that God has prepared a city for them

May something of the attitude of Moses be present with us: Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (Heb.11: 26).

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