Morning Thoughts for Today;
or, Daily Walking with God
by Octavius Winslow, 1856 (edited for
today's reader by Larry E. Wilson, 2010)
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
In heaven we will be set free from the indwelling of evil. We will be delivered from the tyranny of corruption. Sin, now our thrall, will then enslave us no more. Sin, now our torment, will then distress us no more. Sin, now our burden, will then oppress us no more. The chain that now binds us to the dead, loathsome body of our humiliation will be broken, and we shall be forever free!
To you who cry, "O wretched man that I am!" (Rom. 7:24), who know the inward plague, and feel that there is not one moment of the day in which you do not come short of the Divine glory - whose heaviest burden, whose bitterest sorrow, whose deepest humiliation springs from the consciousness of sin - what a glorious prospect is this!
"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" (1 John 3:2). The absence of all evil, and the presence of all good, constitute elements of the heavenly state. These place its blessedness beyond the conception of the human mind.
Assure me that in glory all the effects and consequences of the curse are done away - that the heart bleeds no more, that the spirit grieves no more, that temptation assails no more, that sickness, bereavement, separation, and disappointment are forms of suffering forever unknown - and let the Spirit bear his witness with my spirit that I am a child of God, and a door opens through which a tide of "joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" (1 Pet. 1:8) rushes in upon my soul.
But heaven is not a place of negative blessedness merely. There is also the positive presence of all good. "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). The soul is with Christ, in the presence of God, and in the complete enjoyment of all that he has from eternity prepared for those who love him. All purity, all love - "no eye has seen, no ear has heard" the inconceivable blessedness in the full ocean of which it now rejoices. Its society is genial; its activities are delightful; its joys are ever new. How deeply does it now drink of God's everlasting love! With what wondering delight it now surveys the glory of Immanuel! How clearly it reads the mysterious volume of all God's conduct below! And how loudly it sings praise, as each new page unfolds "the breadth and length and height and depth" of the love of Christ (Eph. 3:17), which even then "passes knowledge"!
Truly we may call upon the "saints to be joyful in glory" (Ps. 149:5). Sing aloud, for you are now with Christ; you see God; you are beyond the region of sin, of pain, of tears, of death - "forever with the Lord."
But we cannot conceive, still less describe, the glorious prospects of believers; for "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9 NIV).
We will soon go home, and experience it all. Then the eye will see, and the ear will hear, and the heart will realize the things which from eternity God has laid up in Jesus, and prepared in the everlasting covenant for the poorest, meanest, feeblest child, whose heart faintly, yet sincerely, thrilled in a response of holy love to his.
By the sea of crystal, saints in glory stand,
myriads in number, drawn from every land,
robed in white apparel, washed in Jesus' blood,
they now reign in heaven with the Lamb of God.
Out of tribulation, death and Satan's hand,
they have been translated at the Lord's command.
in their hands they're holding palms of victory;
Hark! the jubilant chorus shouts triumphantly:
"Unto God Almighty, sitting on the throne,
and the Lamb, victorious, be the praise alone!
God has wrought salvation, he did wondrous things!
Who shall not extol thee, holy King of Kings?"
(William Kuipers, 1932)