|Some 'Truly Truly," “We Know” and “How Much More” Scriptures – God’s Amazing Grace/Part 2|
|By: John G. Weldon, PhD, DMin; ©2011|
|Phrases in scripture that God particularly wants us to know, because He intentionally emphasizes what He is saying by using these phrases. For example, when Jesus said "Truly, truly," He clearly wanted us to understand that what He is saying is absolutely true, and really important.|
The phrase "how much more" is intentionally expressive and expansive. For example, I could express the thought, "If Christians are blessed by God in this life, how much more will they be blessed in heaven." Although Christians experience many major blessings in this life, such as the steadfast promise of Romans 8:28 (that all things work together for good…), great as they are, they nevertheless pale in comparison to the blessings Christians will experience throughout eternity, as we seek to briefly illustrate the end of this section. In the following examples of the "how much more" Scriptures, note the particular manner of contrast made between the initial point and its greater corollary.
3)How much more…
- "Since we have now been justified [that is, declared righteous, no small thing] by his blood [then], how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!" (Rom. 5:9)
- "For if, when we were God's enemies [it doesn't get any worse], we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son [then], how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!" (Rom. 5:10)
- "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:11)
- "If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!" (2 Cor. 3:9)
- "Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to [the discipline of] the Father of our spirits and live! [καὶ ζήσομεν, have true life.]"
- "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness [justification] reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ." (Rom. 5:17)
- "Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins." (Heb. 9:14)
- (… He forgave us all our sins." Colossians 2:13)
- "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all--how ['much more' could certainly be added here] will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).
Here is where Heaven enters the picture, its discussion comprising a fitting conclusion to the blessings that we have seen are already ours. If we have experienced so many blessings here, how much more will we experience blessings when we are with the infinite Lord Himself and truly free, sinless, with Jesus having "transform[ed] our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21), to name a few items. (And to be sure, even as we should live in light of eternity, this infinitesimal speck of time is all that is allotted us to glorify God in the midst of our tribulation and adversity.)
- "But as Scripture says: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.'" (1 Cor. 2:9)
- "So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God." (1 Cor. 3;21-23)
- "… heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8:17)
- "So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." (Galatians 4:7)
- Consider this: "The Father has given us His love. He loves us so much that we are actually called God's dear children. And that's what we are..." (1 Jn. 3:1)
Incredibly, when Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17, observe Jesus’ teaching that the Father loves those who believe in His Son just as He loves His Son: "you love them as much as you love me." (John 17:23) In a similar fashion, Jesus loves us as much as the Father loves Him: "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love." (John 15:19)
- "I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." (Jer. 31:3)
- "But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him,..." (Ps. 103:17)
One can but try and imagine what God's infinite love will bestow upon His dearly loved children throughout eternal ages, time without end.
Imagine spending forever in the presence of a God of infinite love, glory and perfection, experiencing eternally increasing knowledge, joy, love, pleasure, creativity, excitement, adventure, and on. What can we possibly say to this entire breathtaking spiritual and other wealth, to riches that are ours now and eternally, perpetually, ceaselessly, to our being guaranteed heirs of God and Christ with all they are and have, loved beyond comprehension forever and ever? “…you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Ps. 16:11) God has “granted [us] eternal blessings…” (Ps. 21:6) “How priceless is your unfailing love!” (Psalm 36:7) For God’s people, “everlasting joy will be theirs.” (Isa. 61:7)
- “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:6-7)
As the great Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards observed:
- “The saints in heaven possess all things as their own, and therefore all things contribute to their joy and happiness. The Scriptures teach that the saints in glory inherit all things…. And the Scriptures teach us to understand this absolutely of all the works of creation and providence.”
- “The saints in heaven will be perfect in their love to God: their hearts will be all a flame of love to God, and therefore they will greatly value the glory of God, and will exceedingly delight in seeing him glorified.”
“Heaven is a part of creation that God has built for this end, to be the place of his glorious presence, and it is his abode forever; and here will he dwell, and gloriously manifest himself to all eternity. And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light. And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven, fills heaven with love, as the sun, placed in the midst of the visible heavens in a clear day, fills the world with light. The apostle tells us that “God is love;” and therefore, seeing he is an infinite being, it follows that he is an infinite fountain of love. Seeing he is an all-sufficient being, it follows that he is a full and over-flowing, and inexhaustible fountain of love. And in that he is an unchangeable and eternal being, he is an unchangeable and eternal fountain of love.
God’s love never fails, but words fail utterly. (But for a nice hint, read John Piper, The Pleasures of God.)
One of the commonalities of genuine Christian near death experiences seems to be the indescribable nature of being in the presence of a God of infinite love: people simply don't have the words to accurately describe the inexpressible joy, bliss, love and ecstasy palpably surrounding and penetrating them. The last thing they want is to return to this life.
Anyone familiar with the works of John Piper knows his slight rewording of the Westminster Catechism – that ‘the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever’; given the nature and attributes of God, I think that's entirely appropriate. (I would recommend that readers peruse Piper's website, www.desiringgod.org.)
If we merely attempted to consider the vast difference between ourselves as finite (and deeply fallen) people compared to a God of infinite love, holiness, glory and perfection, then obviously, an eternal relationship with Him is worth more than possessing endless worlds. However incredible a finite or infinite Heaven will be, God Himself will be endlessly better. Whatever marvels exist outside of Him for eternity, they can't scratch the surface of the glories involved in learning about, loving, enjoying and glorifying a God of infinite perfections.
Personally, there are quite literally, millions of things I'd like to learn and do in an eternal new heavens and earth – billions of things I haven't even thought of to glorify God, and these won't even take up the initial trillion years, again not even scratching the surface of a never-ending future. Throughout the world many believers suffer today, some immeasurably so, but "the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18) For, by comparison, "this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
Because of the immeasurable division between the finite and infinite, the essence of Heaven must involve the eternal increase of all that is good and glorious – knowledge of God and other knowledge, joy and love, delight and blessedness, excitement and adventure, and on. As a result, "The blessedness of the beauty of heaven is progressive, incremental and incessantly expansive." How can this be? I have no idea. But all things are possible with God (Mk. 14:36; Mt. 19:26) and nothing is impossible for Him (Lk. 1:37). God's love and goodness will be increasingly imparted, infused and intensified to us, perhaps moment by moment. The infinite beauty around us will be stunning and our enjoyment of God's pleasures and beauty will increasingly astonish us, compelling us to greater and greater love and worship. Everything we experience and that God imparts to us will eternally grow, deepen, expand and intensify.
Throughout eternity, we will increasingly be amazed at who God is, at the depths of His love and mercy, at the multifaceted perfections of His character and His infinitely complex emotional state – such that our love for God will increase forever as well as our relishing of His presence and the intensity of our ever-expanding personal relationship with him. As a result, "Our experience of God will never reach a consummation or become stale. It will deepen and develop, intensify and amplify -- and will reach a crescendo that will even then be only the beginning of an eternity of new and intriguing insights into the majesty of who God is."
Given continuously increased knowledge of the perfections of the infinite God, we will experience an ever increasing affection and fascination, with never ending and increasing insights producing eternally increasing joys. With whatever else we will be seeing and experiencing, we will also always be seeing and experiencing God Himself. As a result, "Wherever we turn our eyes in heaven we will behold only glory and grandeur and beauty and brightness and purity and perfection and utter, unending majesty."
It's all quite mind-boggling.
Perhaps only what God has already said is an adequate response to the awesome marvels and timeless wonders of His salvation:
- “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Timothy 1:17)
- "I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me…" (Psalm 86:12-13)
- "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness." (Psalm 115:1)
(If you are a non-Christian and have read this far, and desire to become a Christian, or aren't sure if your Christian, please read the article "How To become a Christian," at the following link : Become a Christian)
- ↑ The context indicates salvation, but is true for Heaven by definition.
- ↑ Being finite, there will forever be new things to learn of an infinite God, hence ever increasing joy, love, etc.
- ↑ See the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University: http://edwards.yale.edu/
- ↑ Jonathan Edwards, “The End of the Wicked Contemplated by the Righteous,” March, 1773; http://www.apuritansmind.com/jonathanedwards/JonathanEdwards-Sermons-EndOfTheWicked.htm. See: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Hell/Essays/
- ↑ Ibid.
- ↑ Jonathan Edwards, Heaven: A World of Love (http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/charity16.htm)
- ↑ = See also Randy Alcorn, Heaven (the long version; he’s read 150 books on Heaven; see his bibliography); also Baxter, The Saint’s Everlasting Rest; Jonathan Edwards, Heaven: A World of Love (http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/charity16.htm); John MacArthur, The Glory of Heaven; Joni Eareckson Tada, Heaven; “Joy's Eternal Increase: Edwards on the Beauty of Heaven”: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/joys-eternal-increase-edwards-on-the-beauty-of-heaven; Sam Storms, “Heaven: The Eternal Increase of Joy;” Decision Magazine, May 1, 2007; http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?ArticleID=810 =
- ↑ As far as can be determined. CBN.com is preparing a televised special and DVD on examples.
- ↑ The long version is: “Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”
- ↑ Sam Storms, “Heaven: The Eternal Increase of Joy;” Decision Magazine, May 1, 2007;http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?ArticleID=810
- ↑ Ibid.
- ↑ Ibid. Much of this paragraph comes from Dr. Storms article.