It is good to contemplate the glories of heaven.
What lies ahead? What will it be like to be in the presence of and see the Savior? What joy might our newly redeemed from sin bodies be like (can you imagine no impulse to sin ever again)? What glories and grace will be revealed to us in those opening hours of eternity? What will sanctified fellowship and worship be like?
So hearing yesterday of John Stott’s entrance into glory, I had some of those thoughts again. And this morning I perused through his work, The Cross of Christ and found this statement on suffering and heaven — something he now knows in full (as a friend emailed to me: “Sad news about Stott, but I’ll bet ya he’s not so sad…”):
It is, then, the hope of glory which makes suffering bearable. The essential perspective to develop is that of the eternal purpose of God, which is to make us holy or Christlike. We ought frequently to meditate on the great New Testament texts which bring together the past and future eternities within a single horizon. For ‘God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight’. His purpose is to present us ‘before his glorious presence Without fault and with great joy’. It is when these horizons are in our view that we ‘consider . . . our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’, because ‘our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all’. And what is this ‘glory’, this ultimate destiny, towards which God is working everything together for good, including our sufferings? It is that we may ‘be conformed to the likeness of his Son’. The future prospect which makes suffering endurable, then, is not a reward in the form of a ‘prize’, which might lead us to say ‘no pain, no palm’ or ‘no cross, no crown’, but the only reward of priceless value, namely the glory of Christ, his own image perfectly re-created within us. ‘We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’