This Sunday at St. Paul’s, Nobleton, I’ll be speaking about heaven in response to a couple of questions from members of the congregation. We are, of course, limited in what we can know about heaven; all we can learn is found in the Scriptures, and what we find there is rather sketchy. However, one thing that we know for certain, shown to us in several places in the Bible, is that God will be there – and that, for me, is enough!
Revelation 21.1-4 deserves our attention: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’” (NLT)
“God’s home is now among his people.” That’s what I truly look forward to about heaven – I hope you do, too. There are other details about our eternal life about which we can know, and others about which we can guess – but in the end, God’s presence is all I need to know.
I think this is well illustrated in an old Latin poem that was translated by Edward Caswall. It was later made into a choir anthem with music by Jane Marshall. Let these words sink in:
My God, I love Thee;
not because I hope for heav’n thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Must die eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace.
Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heav’n,
Or of escaping hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!
E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my Eternal King.