1997-05-13 - Hope of Heaven
Rev. 13: 8 ...whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
Nothing is more common today than assured hopes of attaining heaven. Everyone has their reasons for having this hope. Most people, it seems, would say that they are basically a good person and that they have not killed anyone. Assuredly, some of those who hope of heaven will find themselves disappointed. Maybe to distinguish ourselves from the world Christians should respond, when asked why they hope of heaven, that their "names are written in the Lamb's book of life" as the reason for their hope. A response like that might really puzzle some folks. Today I would like to briefly think of the purifying influence of Christian hope.
A Christian hope rejoices in the glory of God. The Christian is driven to a knowledge of God that can be called experimental, or experienced. The more the believer sees of the perfections of God the more they become a part of the inner being and practice. A taste of Divine perfection will cause the Christian to be unsatisfied with their current love for and enjoyment of God and, alas, long for more. I think this was the struggle of Paul in Philippians 1: 21-25. He was hard-pressed both to stay and continue to enjoy fruitful labor, but, desired more to depart and be with Christ. He seems to have had a taste of the Divine perfections.
Christian hope leads to a desire to be delivered from the bondage of sin. The more a Christian loves God the more sin will be hated. What does David say in Psalm 51?, "I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me … Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which you have broken rejoice." Do Christians sin? Yes! It is the desire to be cleansed that is in mind here. A Christian is one who is willing to confess before God and the world that, yes, they do sin, even as their hearts long for deliverance from sins bondage.
A Christian's hope will make him prayerful. The more we learn of, and from God, the more we see our need of help from God. A prayerless Christian is an absurdity. As Christians grow in grace, the also grow in prayerfulness. Prayer is a living testament to the purifying influence of their hope in Christ.
"The pure heart is God's paradise where he delights to walk. It is his lesser heaven." Thomas Watson
Soli Deo Gloria,