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Posts Tagged ‘rest’

The Glory of Heaven

June 12th, 2015

But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light… But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes am abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Revelation 21:22-23,27

Here on earth we must always guard our hearts. Try as we might we are never able here to escape all the corrupting influences of the devil and the world away from God. We are wise if we get as far away from as many of them as we can, but we can never escape them all, for they come from within us, from within our own hearts.

These verses answer the question of whether or not there will be the possibility of humans ruining another paradise. The first one was ruined when the devil tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, and the world has been living with the consequences of that decision for all these millennia. But here is the solemn promise of God that in the city to which He will take us for eternity there will be no tempter, no possibility of sin.

No temple is necessary there because all of heaven is about God: In the earthly Jerusalem the temple set high on a hill reminded the people of the city, and of the towns and villages around it, of the means to draw near to God. On this sinful earth we need many reminders, as well as the means to draw near to God. This is why we build church buildings, places where the people of Christ can draw together to hear His Word proclaimed and to worship Him. Even in the most religious cities, with the largest churches, there is sin enough to distract and draw aside any human heart. But in heaven it will be all God.

No sun or moon is necessary there because all of heaven is illuminated by the glory of God. The imagery reflects the prophecy of Isaiah:

Arise, shine. For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you … The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; but the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory … For the LORD will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended (Isaiah 60:1,19-20).

God as our light means that His truth shall illuminate every heart. There will be no more guess work on our parts regarding interpretations or balancing the tension between various theological ideas. Rather all shall be clear. And this will create a new brotherhood, a new family. Paul wrote,

Now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known (1 Cor. 13:12).

Our original parents were united perfectly before sin entered into the human situation. They were naked and felt no shame. And this depicts not only their physical condition but also the condition of their relationship. No fear of being judged, no concern of being misunderstood, no worries of retaliation, no distrust, jealousy, anger, divisiveness, or even mere impatience.

In the heavenly Jerusalem there will be a perfection and a reclaiming of all that was lost, and not only to bring us back to where the human race originally stood in its innocence, but to transport us even further into the environment of peace where there is no more tempter.

Admittedly, so much of our experience here on earth involves dealing with distrust and sin, that we can hardly begin to imagine what this will mean. It certainly won’t be boring, or tedious, or joyless – it will be exciting and joyful and wonderful beyond our best ideas.

For us today, there is wisdom found in drawing away from the world each day for a period of devotion with Christ, to let Him be our Light and our Truth and our Glory today. He gives what no one else can give – peace, love, joy, and every other grace gift spoken of in His Word.

Second Coming of Christ , , ,

Experiencing God’s Rest

September 26th, 2011

Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

The Lord’s invitation is offered without condemnation as to the causes of our fatigue. If there is blame on our part it will be dealt with in another venue, at another time. He simply offers rest. He offers to lift the burdens from our shoulders and to place on us a light and easy yoke.

What is not said is that He will merely give us a brief respite from our labors. This is all that the world can offer, a mere period of amusement or a short rest from the journey, after which we return to take up the burden all over again. We are glad enough for these moments, and He is not speaking against such things. After all, it was God who initiated the day of rest, and we need rest from our labors.

But Christ was saying something different here – not to merely give us a temporary break but to so re-interpret life and living so as to give us constant deliverance from the burden of religion. Religion demands things from us, either by the official dictates of the officials of the specific faith that we prescribe to or by our own needy souls that long for salvation and deliverance. But religion by itself has never truly delivered, has never truly given a light burden. Either the demands from above in the structural hierarchy or the demands from within in the fears and worries of our souls push us to seek and seek and seek some life, some joy, some true victory where there is none.

Christ gives us rest for our souls through His grace, in which we become truly alive and His righteousness is bestowed on the believer (Eph. 2:4-10, Rom. 3:21-22). He gives us rest by His Spirit who comes in indwells our hearts (Eph. 1:13-14). He gives us rest by providing us with the spiritual armor we need to face our adversary (Eph. 6:10-20). He gives us rest by sharing with us His heart of love, filling our souls with Himself, and drawing us into a community of faith (Eph. 5:15-20). And out of this spiritual rest we find joy, peace, contentment, and usefulness for His purposes.

Prayer:

Lord, fill us with Your love and power that we might find the spiritual rest that our souls truly need. Let us follow you and serve You in your power, and not in our own. Amen.

Miles Stanford wrote:

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:9-11a). So many of the life-giving truths in the Word consist of two intertwining halves that are inseparable. “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest.” As for labor, it is true that there is a great deal of struggling and searching and pleading and agonizing in the process of discovering and understanding truths fitted to our needs. And much of the same pathway is trod (or crawled) in an effort to appropriate and enter in. All this is not in vain; it is necessary. But it is not the key that opens the door to reality. Rest is the key to entering into rest!

In the important but exhausting labor process we come to see the needed truth; we become sure of our facts; we begin to realize something of what is ours in the Lord Jesus Christ. The appropriation of, the resting in the reality must be on the basis of faith, not struggle and labor. We are told to reckon, to count upon what we now know to be true of us in Him as set forth in the Word. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). We are to look quietly and steadily to our Father in confident trust, and thankfully receive that which He has given to us in His Son. “These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good” (Psalm 104:27-28).

Evening Devotionals