|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.
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.)
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)
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)
As the great Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards observed:
“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:
(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)