The Most Striking Thing About Heaven
- Colin Smith Colin Smith is Senior Pastor of The Orchard in northwest suburban Chicago.
- 2013 28 Oct
[Christ comes] “to be glorified in His holy people... This includes you, because you believed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10
I can see, and begin to imagine, how God’s people will be glorified in Christ. One day we’ll have a resurrected body like Him. We’ll have no more pain, sickness or sorrow and a body that’s adapted for eternal life. We’ll also have a soul like Christ that’s free from every inclination to sin. We’ll love what Christ loves as Christ loves!
But how will Christ be glorified in us? What does this mean? At the end of the Bible, the Apostle John was given a vision, recorded in the book of Revelation. John saw God’s people in the presence of Jesus, and he records what was most striking to him…
Christ will be glorified by the vast number of the redeemed
“I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language.” Revelation 7:9
The first thing John noted was the sheer number of these people. Christ has redeemed people from every corner of the planet. They’ve been drawn from every generation of history. John says nobody could possibly count them! On the last day, Christ will see the fruit that came from His suffering and be satisfied (Isaiah 53:11).
In my second year of ministry, I was invited to speak at “The Greater Clacton Convention for the Deepening of Spiritual Life.” So, Karen and I drove 100 miles to attend this convention. When we finally arrived at the wooden hut, we found a total of five people in attendance. My wife reminds me of this often for the purpose of promoting humility!
We’ve all been at events that were disappointing, because only a few people showed up. We say “Is this it?” No one will be saying “Is this it?” in the presence of Jesus. This will be larger than any gathering you have ever seen or imagined in your life. And every person there will have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Christ will be glorified by unique difficulties His people have endured
“These are they who have come out of the great tribulation.” Revelation 7:14
Come closer and you discover that this vast company is made up of people who have each faced some special difficulty in life. Here is someone who struggled with depression all her life. But not now—there is a light and joy in her face she’d never known before. Over there is someone who lacked confidence. He battled against fear all his life. But not now—there he stands sure and certain in Christ.
You look further and see someone who was scarred by a great evil inflicted by someone else. It troubled them all their days. But not now—there they stand in the presence of Jesus, every tear has been wiped away. Each person endured a lifelong struggle arising from their temperament or background, but in every case Christ brought them through.
Christ will be glorified by the complete transformation of inveterate sinners
“They were wearing white robes.” Revelation 7:9
I use the word “inveterate” because I want you to remember that our sins are not a small thing. “Inveterate” means “long established,” “deep rooted” or “habitual,” so it is a good word to describe the human condition. By nature we are inveterate sinners.
But sinners will be “shut out from the presence of the Lord.” The people in the presence of Jesus were sinners too, so what are they doing in the presence of the Lord? Why are they dressed in white? John gives the answer, “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb” (Revelation 7:14).
Look who’s in the crowd—David the adulterer, Moses the murderer, Peter the denier, Paul the persecutor and you and me with all that we’ve done… washed in the blood of the lamb, cleansed by Christ, dressed in the white robes of His righteousness, holy as God is holy, in His presence without fault and with great joy.
Only Jesus could accomplish such a transformation. If your sins are many, you have every reason to come to Christ today: Your salvation will bring great glory to Him. Put your trust in Christ and He will be glorified in you, forever.
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This LifeKey is based on the message “christ will be glorified in you,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered January 16, 2011, from the series “staying the course when you’re tired of the battle.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.