Friday, July 19, 2013

An End, A Rest, A Crown

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
— 2 TIMOTHY 4:7-8 (NRSV)
Of the mysteries of God,
A lot’s made of life,
And about this life,
Is the notion of strife.
There’s a spiritual battle about,
And in this life it’ll bring,
Evil forces from without,
And temptations from within.
It’s up to us,
To maintain the fight,
It’s the only way,
We gain the right.
Salvation’s abode,
Believer’s divine right,
We fight by faith,
And not by sight.
Of course, there is much made of life; it’s the only thing we know. We have an inkling of what heaven might be like; that eternal abode. But realistically all we know is this life, and we grapple with it, struggling to understand. Sometimes we think we have mastered everything there is to understand, but soon we come to realise we are deluded to think that. Life catches up with all of us in that way.
A Beautiful Promise Only God Can Fulfil
That eternal dwelling place – a sanctified retreat beyond measure – is prepared for us. It is our home-sweet-home. It is a house with many rooms (John 14:2).
At the very least we have to look forward to in arriving in eternity – if even we could speak in such minimalistic ways – are the blessings of eternal life (perfect wisdom, joy, holiness, peace, and fellowship) all enjoyed to the glory of God, in a marvellously restored universe, in the company of Christ and all the saints (William Hendriksen).
For having fought the good fight, by trusting and obeying God the best way we can, in spite of the evil forces from without and the temptations from within, we will receive an end to the turmoil, an eternal rest, and a laurel wreath crown to last the ages. Such a crown of righteousness will be awarded for our triumph and in our honour – for having endured and for having kept the faith – to the glory of God.
Heaven is a beautiful promise only God can fulfil. The vast and surpassing incentive for bearing this life is entry and blessing upon entering the next life, where we are granted an end to our pain, an eternal rest, and finally a crown for having endured a full lifetime as faithfully as we could.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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