Hope in Heaven
James Smith, 1855
Many Christians have but little in hand — but they have much in hope. They have little on earth — but they have unsearchable wealth in Heaven. The present, is the worst state they will ever be in. All beyond death — is bright, beamy, and glorious. God has amply provided for them, and what he has provided is laid up securely in Heaven. Hence, Paul speaks of "the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, whereof you heard before in the Word of the truth of the gospel" (Colossians 1:5). The Christian's hope is a confident expectation of future good — but here hope is put for the object hoped for: the believer's hope is . . .
produced by grace,
quickened by the promise, and
centers in invisible blessedness!
Let us notice —
First,The Christian's hope. This consists in both freedom and possession. In freedom from . . .
Oh, what a mercy it will be to enjoy such freedom, and to possess the inward consciousness that it will be enjoyed forever!
The Christian will not only be free from all that
is painful and distressing — but he will also possess . . .
perfect, settled, and everlasting peace;
sinless faculties and immortal powers with which to serve and enjoy God forever;
permanent, perpetual, and uninterrupted joy;
the presence and enjoyment of Jesus — we shall see Him, be with Him, and be like Him;
ALL that we can consistently wish, desire, or pray for!
O glorious hope! O blessed prospect! It leaves us nothing to long for, nothing to desire!
Second,The Christian's hope is laid up for him in Heaven.
It is laid up — that is, the substance of it is ready. It is laid up for us, therefore God appointed it for us. Jesus says it is a kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world. If it is laid up for us, there our hearts and our affections should be.
It is laid up for us in Heaven. This
betokens . . .
its excellency, being kept in so excellent a place;
its certainty and security, no thieves can break through to steal;
its nature, it is spiritual, holy, Heavenly.
It is laid up in Heaven for you. This shows
. . .
that Jehovah knew all for whom he provided;
that a man may know whether he has a hope laid up in Heaven or not;
that well-instructed Christians do know and enjoy the fact.
What rich grace has God displayed, in providing an inheritance in Heaven for us, and preparing us for that inheritance.
Thirdly,The means by which he becomes acquainted with it, is the gospel. God's gospel is the good news that he has given unto us eternal life. It contains the promise that all who believe in Jesus shall possess that life. It assures us, that all who sincerely desire it and earnestly seek for it — shall find it. It is called the Word of truth because it is the true Word, or every Word of it is truth; because Christ, who is the truth, is its author, object, and end.
Have we received the gospel? Did we understand it as informing us that God had made glorious provision for us in Heaven? Did it beget hope in our hearts that we would possess the kingdom promised to believers? Do we feel satisfied that the gospel is the true Word, and that every jot and tittle of it must be accomplished?
What a mercy it is . . .
when comforts run short,
when trials press sore,
when a dreary winter of affliction sets in
— to remember that we have a priceless inheritance — an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us — pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay!
How this blessed hope should . . .
quicken our zeal,
animate our spirits, and
raise us above fear and despondency.
It is not what we have now — but what we shall have in Heaven — which should affect us. The poor in this world, if rich in faith — are heirs of the kingdom which God has promised to those who love him. Oh, for clear views, bright evidences, and a steady hope of everlasting joys! Now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be — but when Jesus shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Our glorious inheritance is vast beyond calculation, it is safe beyond the possibility of failure — but we must pass over Jordan to possess it. It is on the other side of the river, in the promised land. Let us, therefore, gird up the loins of our minds, he sober, and hope steadily for the grace that is to he brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, The wilderness will soon be passed, the storms of life will soon subside — and then eternal calm and unclouded sunshine, will soon be our happy, endless portion. All glory to free grace!