According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. Phil. 1:20, KJV
The world wearies God’s poor and afflicted people, because more and more they are loosened from the cares here below, causing them to look for the glorious expectation of their coming Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Ps. 73:25). The world’s expectations pale in comparison as the Holy Spirit fills their hearts with love and contentment of the heavenly. They extol Jesus Christ as their precious Lord to all they meet in this world. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
One of the two thieves on the cross, while dying for the crimes he committed, was transported above. In agony and pain, while hanging there he cried to Jesus and asked for a thought but heard the unthinkable from him: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43b). These glorious expectations made the thief’s last hours the most blessed of his life. What a difference between those thieves! The one was cursing and swearing as he was dying. The other was quiet and looking for the fulfillment of the promise given by his Savior.
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
(“There Is a Fountain,” William Cowper, 1772)
Heaven is a place of perfection. Sin cannot enter. This perfection can be found only in the blood of the Lamb, the God-man, Jesus Christ on the center cross. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The glorious expectation is not to be found in being reunited with loved ones but being united with our Lord Jesus Christ. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Tim. 1:17).
All glory, might, and honor ascribe to God on high;
His arm protects His people who on His pow’r rely,
Forth from Thy holy dwelling Thy awful glories shine;
Thou strengthenest Thy people; unending praise be Thine.
(Psalter 183:4, Psalm 68)
Sing along with Psalter 183 at: https://tinyurl.com/ycksr5sw
Mr. Cornelius Van Kempen known as Case, has been married to Susan for fifty-seven blessed years. They attend and are members of Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, MI.