Hope for the Future and Joy for Today
Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy down here today. Our hearts will be stirred by thinking often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there.
Here we are tired and weary, but over there is the land of rest where the sweat of toil will no longer soak our shirts, and fatigue will be banished forever. To those who are weary and worn, the word rest is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted and so molested by foes that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we will enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be unfurled in triumph, and the sword will be sheathed, and we will hear our Captain say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."1
We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves do not exist. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we will be perfectly holy, for there will be nothing in heaven to defile it. There are no needs in the furrows of celestial fields. It is a source of deep joy to realize that the wilderness journey of our earthly pilgrimage will end and we will inherit heaven.
But let us make sure that we are not just dreaming about the future and thus forgetting the present. Let all thoughts of the future serve to make us useful in the present. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most powerful force for producing virtue; it is a fountain of joyful endeavor; it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness. Those who have this hope in them go about their work with vigor, for the joy of the Lord is their strength. They fight hard against temptation, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. They can work without immediate reward, for they anticipate a reward in the world to come.
11 Matthew 25:23
verse 1 1 Kings 4, 5
verse 2 Ephesians 2
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.