The Sure Hope
This is the way you must walk in, if you would ever stand with them in glory. You must lay aside all pride and self-dependence, you must use the publican's prayer, you must believe yourself a miserable undeserving sinner, you must lay hold on the Cross of Christ with a simple childlike faith, and pray that you may be washed in His blood and pardoned for His name's sake. Show me another way of salvation which will bring you peace at the last; I cannot find one in the Bible. I hear of men who live on many a long year without a thought about this precious washing in Christ's blood, this precious garment of Christ's righteousness, and yet can tell us they trust it will be all right with them at last; but I never hear that it is right, and if the Bible be true it is impossible. I see many who profess a belief in their need of this fountain for sin and uncleanness, but I fear they do no more than talk about it, they do not count all things loss until they are forgiven. But whether men will receive the doctrine or not, the foundation of God standeth sure, and though the saints of God do form a multitude which none can number, I cannot read of one who had not washed his robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
III. The third and last part of my text is that which describes the reward of the redeemed: "they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Here is a list of privileges; you have heard of tribulation, but it leads, you see, to comfort; you have heard of the Cross, but the end is indeed a crown.
Now we can tell you something of the affliction of God's children, for we are able to speak that we know; but when we have to treat of the glory which shall be revealed, we are on ground which human eye hath not seen, and we must be careful not to go beyond what is written.
The saints "shall serve God day and night." There shall be no weariness in heaven; there shall be no earthly labors to distract our attention. Her, alas! the cares of the world are continually breaking in, and these poor frail bodies of ours do often tie us down to the earth by their weakness, even when the spirit is willing. We may be on the mount for a short season sometimes, but our powers are soon exhausted; but there we shall have no wandering thoughts, no distractions, no bodily wants, we shall never faint. How little indeed do we worship God in spirit and in truth; at our very best moments, how cold and dull we feel towards our blessed Redeemer, how willing to allow any excuse for shortening our prayers and diminishing our communion with our Father which is in heaven; but they that stand before the throne of God shall feel no fatigue, they will require no repose, they will count it their highest privilege to be continually singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, and saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
But let us read on. "He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them". They shall no longer walk by faith, and see through a glass darkly, they shall see face to face the God in whom they have believed, and behold His countenance as that of a familiar friend. They shall have no more dark seasons, they shall never feel that their beloved Lord is at a distance, they shall never tremble lest they compel Him to withdraw Himself by their lack of service, but they shall see Him as He is, and be for ever at His side. And if, while groaning in their body of sin, the Christian finds such peace and comfort in drawing nigh to God in prayer - if even in the flesh he has tasted that it is a joyful thing to pour out his heart before the throne of mercy - oh! who shall describe his blessedness when he shall find himself for ever in his Redeemer's presence, and shall be told, It is finished, thou shalt no more go out? It is a pleasant thing to have the company of those we love: our very earthly happiness is incomplete while those who have the keys of our affection, the husband, the wife, the brother, the sister, the friends who are as our own souls, are far away; but there shall be no such incompleteness in heaven; there we shall have the presence of our glorious Lord before our eyes, who loved us and gave Himself for us, and paid the price of our salvation, even His own blood, and the Scripture shall be fulfilled which saith, "In Thy presence there is fullness of joy, and at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 21)