“and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”
Last night we had dinner with two other families. We meet every month and have a very good time. As seems to be the case, the women tend to talk together, as do the men. Last night, we men talked about the importance of looking forward to Jesus’ return. We concluded that life can be very difficult if we don’t have a long-term perspective. In fact, we find the writers of the bible pointing us to heaven all through the pages of the bible.
Romans 5 is no different. “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Yes, we do. Not that we always do because we can forget about all that; but when we really dive into this, we find ourselves simply captivated by the thought of it all. We have hope. In fact, we look forward to Jesus’ return with great anticipation.
My devotional today went a step further and discussed how we tend to get caught up in our lives and take our eyes off this prize. Let me share it with you:
Why are we so loath to die and depart from here to possess the everlasting rest promised to the people of God? If I may judge others by my own heart, we are exceedingly guilty at this point. We linger as Lot in Sodom till God is merciful to us and plucks us away against our will. How rare it is to meet a Christian that can die with unfeigned willingness! If God enacted a law for the continuance of our life until we are truly willing, heaven might be empty, and our lives on earth would be very long. We pretend that we want to have greater service for God, and we beg for one year more, and another, but still our service is just as distant as before. It is true that death itself is undesirable, but it is the common passage for the soul’s rest with God.
It would seem that this is as true today as when Richard Baxter wrote it in the mid-1600s. When we find someone has a terrible illness, we quickly organize and pray for miracle healing. Do we ever celebrate someone’s cancer that it might be a transition to a glorious destination? No, we expect a miracle (because if we pray, we should expect it to happen, right?), and pretend not to be disappointed when God doesn’t allow healing.
Consider what unfaithfulness lurks in the heart of this sin. Either we do not believe the promises given to Scripture, or we doubt our interest in them. O if we would believe the promises of glory, we would be impatient with living! Is it possible that we can truly believe that death will remove us from misery to such glory, and yet be loath to die? If a man in despicable poverty today had assurance that he would arise a prince in the morning, would he be afraid to go to bed? The truth is, though there is faith in our mouths, there is infidelity and paganism in our hearts. The things we delight in – some garden, a walk, or books – we pour over with delight. We love food, clothes, and recreations. Can I love God above these and have no desire to be with him? I do not say that we have no love at all for him, but if we love him more, we would die more willingly. Our knowledge is dark, our faith exceedingly feeble, and our love but little. Christ came from heaven that we might go to heaven.
How might we change our perspective on all this? By diving deep into the bible, to savor every word and be amazed about how it is all interconnected. Surely, the Spirit will guide and reveal things you never understood before, including this whole concept of rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God. It’s really quite simple, folks. We hold, in our hands, God’s direct communication to us. Within the pages, we find the promise that God will reveal all things through the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. It’s simply a matter of becoming willing to allow Him to do that and a commitment to actually dive in.
Romans 5:3-5 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
See how all this fits together so nicely?
Father, thank you for weaving the truth of the bible into our lives. We desire a heavenly mindset and want to be far more interested in our next world than we are in this. Guide us. Amen.
“Voices From The Past – Puritan Devotional Readings, Volume I” Edited by Richard Rushing. The Banner of Truth Trust. Reprinted 2017.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers