The Sure Hope
But we may not linger here. We read, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." They shall have no more wants and necessities; they shall no longer stand in need of daily application for the bread of life, and find their souls starving in the wilderness of this world; they shall not walk as pilgrims trembling lest their spiritual food should not support them, and thirsting after a fuller draught of the water of life; but they shall find that prophecy made good, "When I awake up after Thy likeness, I shall be satisfied." But again, "the sun shall not light on them, nor any heat." There shall be no more trial and persecution. There shall not be one reviling tongue nor one ensnaring temptation. The mockers and the flatterers and the scoffers shall be silent for ever, the fiery darts of the wicked will all be quenches; there will be nothing to mar and disturb the Christian's peace. The time will have come at last when he may rest; he will be far above the scene of his old conflicts, and the strife shall never be renewed.
But what is the crowning privilege? "the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." The Lord Jesus Christ Himself shall minister to their comforts; the same kind hand which raised them from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, which healed their spiritual diseases, and brought them health and peace, and made them new creatures upon earth, the same hand shall welcome them in heaven, and conduct them as highly favored guests to a banquet of happiness, such as eye hath not seen, neither can it enter into the heart of man to conceive. Time was when He sought them out as wandering sheep in the wilderness of this world, and made them members of His little flock by the renewing of the Holy Spirit, and refreshed their weary, heavy laden souls with the water of life. And the same Jesus who began the good work in the days of the tribulation upon earth, the same Good Shepherd shall complete the work in heaven. Here they have tasted something of the steams, a little trembling company, from north and south, east and west, but there they will be gathered around the fountain itself, and there will be one fold and one shepherd, one heart and one mind, and none shall make them afraid. And then there shall be no more weeping, for "God Himself shall wipe away all tears." A dwelling-place in which there shall be no weeping! I know no part of heaven more difficult to imagine. We live in a world of sorrow, a very vale of tears; tears for ourselves and tears for others, tears over our own shortcomings, tears over the unbelief of those we love, tears over disappointed hopes, tears over the graves of those on whom our affections are set, and all because of sin: there would have been no sorrow if Adam had never fallen, but our very weeping is a proof of sin.
Yet it shall not always be so: a day is still to come when sadness shall flee away, and God Himself shall say, Refrain thy voice from weeping, for the former things are passed away. There shall be no sadness in heaven, for there shall be no sin; the days of our tribulation shall be forgotten; we shall be able at last to love our God without coldness, to reverence His holiness without torment, to trust Him without despair, to serve Him without weariness, without interruption, without distraction; the days of weakness and corruption will be past, and we shall be like unto our Lord in holiness as well as happiness, in purity as well as immortality.
And now, beloved, let me ask you what is the purpose for which the Church of God has been established upon earth, and ministers have been appointed to watch for your souls? What is the object of Bibles and Sacraments, and prayer and preaching? Is it not simply this, that you may be numbered with the saints in glory everlasting, that you may enjoy those blessings you have heard described?
Then search and see what solemn questions spring out of my text. Have you taken up the Cross? Are you denying yourself? Do you know anything of this spiritual tribulation? be very sure except you will declare yourself decidedly on the Lord's side, and fight His battle with the fashion of the world, and the lusts of the flesh, and the wiles of the devil; you will never stand before the throne in robes of white an carry the palm of victory in your hand.
~J. C. Ryle~
(continued with # 22)