“With this glorious prize in mind – namely, the blessings of everlasting life; such as perfect wisdom, joy, holiness, peace, fellowship, all enjoyed to the glory of God, in a marvellously restored universe, and in the company of Christ and of all the saints – Paul is pressing on toward the goal.” (Philippians 3:14)
— WILLIAM HENDRIKSEN (1900–1982)
The ultimate goal of the Christian is reach heavenward by actuality. They think not of what is left behind – family, possessions, hopes and dreams – but striving ahead to redeem the prize is the prevalence of perfection. Looking back does no good – look, for instance, at what happened to Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32, c.f. Genesis 19:26) – for those things left behind are now for others. Finding ourselves in heaven there is now no need to trust God, because our perfection would encapsulate that trust. Trust would be so implicit, there would be no concept for it.
There will be no grief in heaven, but there will be grief on earth – in the hearts of those who we leave behind. Those we leave behind should know that it is not for us that they should grieve, but for themselves – as Jesus said when he was about to be crucified, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:28)
It Is Better for Us to Go
No one wants to leave earth prematurely, and we all want a full life, but it must be said, that heaven is a better place to be than here (Philippians 1:23). By believing in Jesus, that he came to save from our sins, and that we come upon power through the Holy Spirit when we believe, we are perfectly justified as heaven bound by the sanctity of God’s grace.
Surely we all fear death. But apart from the transition moment – that might involve pain – we have an eternal home to look forward to, where we are citizens who will belong like we have never belonged before.
The blessings of everlasting life are myriad form of perfection.
There would be no such thing as uncertainty or doubt or sorrow or iniquity or confounded states of chaos and confusion. We will belong there, worshipping God together. And our stated perfection is but one form of a blessed reality. We are going to a place that is the marvellously restored universe; where we will meet and worship eternally our Lord Jesus, and be equal with everyone else.
The glories awaiting us in our heavenly home cannot be comprehended in all their beauty – to meet Christ, to be made perfect (finally), and to enjoy a universe that is marvellously restored. This is the prize of the heavenward call. It is abundantly worth every sacrifice we make here on earth to grow in Christ, for that ‘day’.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.