The following extract is taken from Enough by Helen Roseveare and will be read today at her funeral by Christian Focus author Irene Howat.
What more can we say? Throughout the Bible, God draws the eyes of Christians forward to that wonderful time when we shall see him face-to-face, no longer darkly as in a mirror. Scripture only tells us a limited amount of the wonders of that time. So as we sing of it, we are seeking to express what we believe it will be like, to the best of our human comprehension.
There is a higher throne
Than all this world has known,
Where faithful ones from ev’ry tongue
Will one day come.
Before the Son we’ll stand,
made faultless through the Lamb;
Believing hearts find promised grace;
Hear heaven’s voices sing;
Their thund’rous anthem rings
Through em’rald courts and sapphire skies;
Their praises rise.
All glory, wisdom, pow’r,
Strength, thanks and honour are
To God our King, who reigns on high
And there we’ll find our home;
Our life before the throne.
We’ll honour him in perfect song
Where we belong.
He’ll wipe each tear-stained eye
As thirst and hunger die.
The Lamb becomes our Shepherd-King;
We’ll reign with him.
Keith and Kristyn Getty
In heaven, we will experience the ultimate fulfilment of all that grace has made possible for us, all that Christ’s death on the cross of Calvary bought for us – forgiveness of our sins, peace of heart, friendship with God, the ‘enough-ness’ in every area of our lives that we have been thinking about.
And it has all been made possible through grace – made possible through Jesus, our beloved Saviour. Before Jesus came to Gethsemane and Calvary, he prayed to his Father, ‘Father, glorify your name’ and the Father replied, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again’ (John 12:28.) Was the Father not referring to the cross, as being the moment in history when he would most clearly reveal to us his glory – when grace would be shown to us in all its fullness?
As I try to conceive of the fullness of grace, my mind moves to Titus 2:11, ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.’ He is talking of the Lord Jesus himself – he is the grace that brings salvation and has appeared to us all. And Paul goes on, ‘we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness’ (Titus 2:13-14). One day, he will return.
As we experience, by grace, the great things that he has done for us here in our present life, it still remains largely beyond our ability to conceive of the wonders of heaven.
No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
No mind has conceived
What God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9).
He promises that, on that day, there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more regrets, no more fears, no more mourning, no more death. All the human emotions and frailties that distract us now, all that causes us to feel less than content, everything that makes us other than happy and at peace – they will be no more. All that causes us now to seek to know the enoughness, the all-sufficiency, of his grace – they were part of a world that has now passed away. On that wonderful day, not only will there be no hindrance to true worship of our beloved Lord and Saviour (the negative aspect of the work of grace), but there will be an utter fulfilment of all that his grace has procured for us (the positive aspect). And more, there will be enough time to love him as we should, and to worship and serve him utterly as we long to do.
What a wonderful prospect!
So as we are learning now that God’s grace and love and fellowship are indeed enough in this ‘down here’ life, we are encouraged by all the wonderful promises for the life-to come, the life ‘up-there’. All God’s promises, that we have watched being fulfilled here and now, will be finally completed when we are in his nearer presence.
In his vision, the Apostle John said:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth …
I saw the Holy City …
He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning
or crying or pain, for the old order of
things has passed away (Rev. 21:1-4).
But with that negative declaration of what there won’t be in heaven, there came (first, actually) the wonderful positive truth of what there will be in heaven.
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God (Rev. 21:3).
As we look forward with longing to that day, we can pray with John, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (Rev. 22:20).
Now, while we are still on earth, we can truly sing wholeheartedly the first three verses of John Newton’s hymn:
Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
But then, when we arrive in glory, we will truly experience that of which we sing in verse 4, the glorious freedom of worship – the enough-ness of time!
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
John Newton (1725-1807)
Other books by Helen Roseveare: