Heaven A World of Love

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10

No writer, in my estimation, exudes the fragrance of Christ more than Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). Anyone who reads him will attest to this fact. It was Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said of Edwards, “He was a mighty theologian and a great evangelist at the same time.” This cannot be refuted. It is sad, however, that Edwards has been neglected among the “lesser lights” in the church. May we all be stirred to read him anew! The blessings will be inestimable! Nothing ever written on 1 Corinthians 13 could possibly exceed what Edwards wrote in Charity and Its Fruits, from which these extracts are taken:

The apostle speaks, in the text, of a state of the church when it is perfect in heaven, and therefore a state in which the Holy Spirit shall be more perfectly and abundantly given to the church than it is now on earth. And it is also a state in which this holy love or charity shall be, as it were, the only gift or fruit of the Spirit, as being the most perfect and glorious of all, and which, being brought to perfection, renders all other gifts that God was wont to bestow on his church on earth, needless.

I would consider, first, the great cause and fountain of love that is in heaven. Here I remark that the God of love himself dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace or presence-chamber of the high and holy One, whose name is love, and who is both the cause and source of all holy love. And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light. The apostle tells us that “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and therefore, seeing he is an infinite being, it follows that he is an infinite fountain of love.

There dwells Christ, the Lamb of God, the prince of peace and of love, who so loved the world that he shed his blood, and poured out his soul unto death for men. There dwells the great Mediator, through whom all the divine love is expressed toward men. There dwells Christ in both his natures, the human and the divine, sitting on the same throne with the Father. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!

Second, I would consider the objects of love that heaven contains. There are none but lovely objects in heaven. No odious, or unlovely, or polluted person or thing is to be seen there. There is nothing that is wicked or unholy. “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination” (Revelation 21:27).  There are many things in this world that in the general are lovely, but yet are not perfectly free from that which is the contrary. But it is not so in heaven. That blessed world shall be perfectly bright, without any darkness; perfectly fair, without any spot; perfectly clear, without any cloud. No moral or natural defect shall ever enter there; and there nothing will be seen that is sinful or weak or foolish.

The Son of God, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory, appears there in the fullness of his glory, without that garb of outward meanness in which he appeared in this world. The whole church, ransomed and purified, shall there be presented to Christ, as a bride, clothed in fine linen, clean and white, “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing”(Ephesians 5:27). Wherever the inhabitants of that blessed world shall turn their eyes, they shall see nothing but dignity, and beauty, and glory. “And the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations were of all kinds of precious stones. The twelve gates were twelve pearls”(Revelation 21:18-21). And all these are but faint emblems of the purity and perfectness of those that dwell therein. And there, above all, we shall enjoy and dwell with Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, who has always been to us “the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:10,16).

~Adapted from Jonathan Edwards, “Heaven a World of Love,” Charity and Its Fruits, pages 325-332

Note: Surely we cannot read the above precious lines from Edwards without tears of joy! And let us all sing anew very loudly, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!”

wfb (October 24, 2016)
A Scripture Meditation by W. F. Bell (1948-2018)

Be Still My Soul

pexels-photo-267423

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
leave to thy God to order and provide
in ev’ry change He faithful will remain
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future as He has the past
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake
all now mysterious shall be bright at last
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice, who ruled them while He dwelt below

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart
and all is darkened in the veil of tears
then shalt thou better know His love, His heart
who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
from His own fullness all He takes away

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
when we shall be forever with the Lord
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last

Behind the lines

One of my favorite hymns to grieve by, especially the passing of a loved one. It was written by Katharina von Schlegel in the 1700s and little is known about her life which in many ways makes it even sweeter.

Dedicated to Rowena Appleton Taylor who passed away yesterday at the age of 69.

Below is a YouTube video of a traditional a cappella boys choir, Libera, singing it complete with lyrics.

 

Visions

michelangelo-abstract-boy-child-73805Visions are revealed,
All things on earth fade away,
The war is over,
And God’s voice resounds,
That He will now dwell with man,
Always, from this day.

Visions of glory,
Visions of the Holy,
Visions of the Holy One,
Author of Ages,
Reveals new pages,
Praise the Worthy Son.

Visions of a throne,
His justice swift and thorough,
The King is worshiped,
Death no longer lives,
In His new dwelling places,
There is no sorrow.

Visions of a home,
In a city without night,
Where joy never ends,
No need for sunshine,
No need for the moon to glow,
The Lord is our light.

So we praise,
We praise,
The Author of Always.

Behind the lines

Revelation 21-22:1-5

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