Jun 6, 2012

The Blessedness No One Has Imagined

1 Corinthians 2:9–10

“‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’ — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit” (vv. 9–10a).

Righteousness, peace, and joy characterize the citizens of the kingdom of God and the life these citizens will enjoy forever (Rom. 14:17). The eternal possession of these things is one of the many comforts we receive from our belief in “the life everlasting,” which we confess in the Apostles’ Creed (The Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 58). Moreover, the benefit of eternal life, according to the Father’s plan and as a reward for the Son’s perfect obedience, comes to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. First, He regenerates us and gives us the gift of faith. Then He unites us to Jesus Christ, who conquered death and rose to life, never to die again (John 3:5–6; Rom. 6:5, 9; 8:1–11). Faith is the means by which this union is accomplished, faith that only the Spirit can work in us (Eph. 2:8–10).

Though we know that righteousness, peace, and joy are ours forever in eternal life, we must admit that the blessings of eternal life go beyond what we can fully describe. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul tells us that those things God has prepared for us have never been seen, heard, or imagined by human beings (1 Cor. 2:9). The Holy Spirit has revealed to us that such indescribable blessings are ours in Christ (v. 10). He has not, however, unveiled them to us in their fullness. In other words, the best is yet to come. God has promised us an eternal reward that is far better than the choicest pleasures this life offers. We will enjoy such beauty, such satisfaction, that the best things of this world will be put to shame.

One of these enjoyments will be our face-to-face vision of the Creator Himself (1 Cor. 13:12). Scripture does not tell us precisely what that will be like, but there are hints that it will be an experience of light so pure and so lovely that we would never want to look elsewhere again (Rev. 21:22–26). This vision will not inspire the terror that sinners feel in God’s presence, for we will be like Christ and, therefore, clean enough to look on our Lord without fearing destruction (1 John 3:1–3). We will never be bored with this experience, for it is what human beings were created for, namely, to fellowship with God directly (Gen. 3:8; 1 John 1:3). But this blessing will be ours only because of the grace of God and the work of our Savior, who has earned for His people the right to become children of God (John 1:12–13).

Coram Deo

The first question and answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism tells us that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In glory, we will enjoy God face to face and experience His loveliness and holiness directly. This vision will be fully satisfying, and we will never tire of it. In eternity to come, we will continue to grow in our understanding of the Lord and our love for Him, and this process will never end.

For Further Study