One Step from Prison to Glory

When we shall come home, and enter into the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, then we shall look back to pains and sufferings and then we will see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory. Our little inch of time-suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome-home to heaven.

Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)

Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven

Most men hope to go to heaven when they die, but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth…. No man can possibly be in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the water, when an owl is happy in a blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy in the dry land — then, and not till then will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.

J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Carlisle, PA: Evangelical Press, 2011), 22-23.

An Outpost of Heaven

The church is to see itself as an outpost of heaven. It is a microcosm of the new heaven and the new earth, brought back, as it were, into our temporal sphere. We are still contaminated by failures, sin, relapses, rebellion, self-centeredness; we are not yet what we ought to be. But by the grace of God, we are not what we were. For as long as we are left here, we are to struggle against sin, and anticipate, so far as we are able, what it will be like to live in the untarnished bliss of perfect righteousness. We are to live with a view to the day of Christ.

D. A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1992), 135-136.

Your Unchangeable Friend

You may greatly comfort yourself that you have an unchangeable friend in Christ Jesus.  From the unchangeableness of your Savior, you may be assured of your continuance in a state of grace.  As to yourself, you are so changeable, that, if left to yourself, you would soon fall utterly away. But Christ is the same, and therefore, when he has begun a good work in you he will finish it. As he has been the author, he will be the finisher of your faith.

When once you have entered on the happiness of heaven, it never shall be taken from you, because Christ, your Savior and friend, who bestows it on you, and in whom you have it, is unchangeable.  He will be the same forever and ever, and therefore so will be your happiness in heaven.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)