Message of Grace


January 1978


After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. Revelation 4:1-2

If we go by what we hear at most funerals today, we must conclude that all men are going to heaven. No matter what ungodly lives people lived nor the fact that they manifested no love to Jesus Christ while living, keeps preachers from telling everyone, "He's better off now." This is not so according to the scripture, for it teaches us that those who belong to Jesus Christ are the only ones who shall inhabit heaven and their sonship is manifested in this life.

Heaven is the place of the Lord's dwelling (Acts 7:55), where He occupies the throne of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3). It is a place where His people may serve Him forever and look upon His blessed face. (Rev. 22:3,4) There shall be no night there. (Rev. 21:25) All tears, death, sorrow and pain are banished from its glorious shore. (Rev. 21:4) All who dwell there experience eternal rest (Rev. 14:13) and paradise (Rev. 2:7). Though some consider heaven merely an idea or a state of mind, yet the Bible teaches that it is a real place. For our Lord has ascended there and lives there in a real, though glorified, body which He took from the tomb (Lk. 24:3).

Now while heaven is a beautiful and glorious place, exceeding all of our thoughts, yet not everyone would be happy to dwell there. Heaven can only be enjoyed by those whose hearts are prepared to enjoy it. By nature, men love sin, but heaven is a place where there is no sin. For men to enjoy eternity without sin, they must have a new nature whose desires are after holiness. By nature, men despise Christ, but heaven is a place where He alone is exalted and worshipped continually by its inhabitants. So, if men are to enjoy heaven, they must have a new nature which loves and adores the Lord Jesus Christ and desires to worship Him and do all for His glory.

Many think that a glorious transformation of our hearts shall take place at death so that those who do not love Christ now and walk not after His will now shall somehow be changed at death into those who do. Yet the scriptures teach no such thing! We shall surely be changed at death (1 Cor. 15:51), but that change has to do with our bodies putting on immortality and putting off corruption (1 Cor. 15:53). The natures or souls of men shall not be changed from one state to another. Surely, they shall be perfected in the children of God (1 Cor. 13:10-12) but in their essence they shall remain the same.

A farmer would be considered a fool if he planted corn and expected to reap a harvest of peanuts. So it is that unless a seed of holiness and love for Jesus Christ is planted in our bosoms now, we shall not bud forth into perfect holiness and love for Him when this earthly tabernacle of our bodies is dissolved. Those who sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6) now, shall move on to an eternal heaven then (2 Cor. 5:1). Those who have been given the 'first fruits of the Spirit' (Rom. 8:23) now shall see that fruit mellow and ripen into perfection then. Those who have the 'earnest (seal and foretaste) of the Spirit' (Eph. 1:13, 2 Cor. 5:5) now, shall dwell in the presence of that Eternal Spirit. But those whose hearts are now exercised in the pursuit of sin shall have hell as their portion. Their evident unholiness shall bud forth into everlasting destruction (Jude 4-14)."Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes. 2:10-12).

So, we might say that heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people (Jn. 14:2, 1 Cor. 2:9). The God of glory has a people, whose names have been written in heaven from eternity (Rev. 13:8, 17:8); Whom He has purposed to save from son's destruction by sending His Son as a ransom for their souls. Even now He is preparing them for their eternal abode with Him by calling them out (2 Cor. 6:17) by the gospel and sanctifying them through His Spirit's presence in their lives. He causes them to sincerely love Jesus Christ and to strive to live for His glory.

Many men desire heaven because a crown is laid up for them who enter its portals, but the true children of God cast their crowns at the feet of the Saviour saying 'worthy is the Lamb' (Rev. 5:12). Some desire heaven for the streets of gold or the gates of pearl (Rev. 21:21), but in the eyes of the true child of God, the glory of the gold and pearl are dim compared to the One who resides there and redeemed them not with silver and gold but with His own precious blood (1 Pet. 1:18,19). Then there are those who want heaven in order to see loved ones who have gone on before; and surely that shall be a blessing, but the true sons of God want most of all to gaze upon the One who 'made His soul an offering for sin' to purchase eternal life for them. So my friend unless a man loves Christ and longs to see His face, He could not be happy in heaven, though surrounded with friends and glorious mansions, for 'the Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel's land'. Unless a man loves holiness and despises sin; loves Christ and detests everything that keeps him from Christ; he would be miserable in the presence of utter and absolute Holiness.

So I ask you, are you among those who shall dwell in eternal heaven? If so, even now your 'conversation (manner of life) is in heaven from whence you look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ' (Phil. 3:20).

The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks,
The summer morn I've sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes;
Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel's land.

The King there in His beauty without a cloud is seen,
It were a well-spent journey though sev'n deaths lay between;
The Lamb with His fair army doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel's land.

O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I've tasted more deep I'll drink above;
There to an ocean fullness His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel's land.

The bride eyes not her garment, but her dear bridegroom's face,
will not gaze at glory, but on my King of Grace;
Not at the crown He gifteth, but on His pierced hand,
The Lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel's land

Anne Cousin, 1857, based on words by Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)