An Eternal Weight of Glory
Finding strength to persevere in the hope of heaven
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man…’” (Revelation 21:1–3)
Without a doubt, the closing chapters of the book of Revelation are among the most beautiful and enchanting ever penned. Here every hope of the human soul is brought finally to fulfilment: every ache for restoration satisfied, every desire for redemption accomplished, every hope of reconciliation achieved, and every voracious longing for love brought finally to rest. Here, at the culmination of history, the warring, devouring, and backbiting of humanity has become a trinket of a bygone age and unity at last prevails over fragmentation, reconciliation triumphs over estrangement.
This panorama of wonder is so foreign to our present experience it feels almost dreamlike; yet the reason for this paradisal state is made plain in the text: the Lamb was slain for sinners and the presence of God now dwells with man again (cf. Rev. 4:9–10). This, more than any other glory of the new creation, is the supreme joy among a plenitude of delights. And it is a sure foundation for true and everlasting peace.
This future state of the world under Christ isn’t something we think about often, but it’s something I’m convinced we should routinely ponder. The Scriptures certainly encourage us to do so, and there’s no doubt we’d be happier for it. But even beyond simple obedience and personal advantage, regular meditation upon the manifold ways God has blessed us (and will bless us) in His Son is one of the key ways we progress in sanctification. Just consider how grumbling evaporates in the face of such mercy and kindness, or how anxiousness ceases at the consideration of eternal peace and security. Think of the way fortitude is nurtured by an eternal weight of glory and grief is soothed with the remembrance of everlasting comfort.
The more one thinks of it the more apparent it becomes that the hope of heaven is not a light or unimportant thing. It really is the substance of our faith and perseverance.
What’s more, because of Christ’s resurrection this hope is more than mere sentiment. The empty tomb ensures that, though unseen, the hope of glory is nevertheless a thing as dependable as gravity and as fast-approaching as the dawn (Rom. 8:24–25). Christ was the first-fruits of a glorious resurrection, and the harvest is sure to come.
The takeaway, then, is simple: set your mind on things above (Col. 3:2). Anchor your hope in that coming world where righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13). Keep fighting by faith for that crown that neither fades nor rusts (2 Tim. 4:8), and run for that inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Pet. 1:4).
Christ has won for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Cor. 4:17). And if we persevere, we have the promise that, “the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen (v. 11).