God is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love. Jesus’ commandment is to love. The perfect bond of unity is love. Love is the proof that one knows God and is a disciple of Jesus. Love of the brethren is evidence that one has passed out of death into life. Love is the greatest of the three blessings of the gospel, faith, hope, and love. These things convinced me that the purpose of the existence of the body of Christ is to live to love with Jesus. I would like to suggest another reality to persuade you to rethink what you live for and consider living to love with Jesus for the rest of your lives. Heaven is a world of love.
Recently, I spent some time with Jonathan Edwards by reading his sermon, Heaven, A World of Love. His thoughts and insights were inspirational, convincing, and encouraged me that love is the way God intended us to live in this world because divine love will forever be communicated to, generously imparted to, and fully and perfectly experienced and expressed by the church of Jesus Christ in heaven. I hope you’ll be inspired, convinced, and encouraged as I share some of Edward’s thoughts about heaven being a world of love in which we will spend eternity. I’m going to attempt to simplify his words and style, but when quoting him, I’ll put his words in quotation marks.
Love, the perfection of heaven.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10
Edwards made two observations from the above scripture. First, God’s love will remain when all other fruits of the Spirit have failed. Second, God’s love will be experienced in fullness in the perfect state of the church when that which is in part is done away with and that which is perfect comes. Contrast the glorious state of the church in heaven, in which the Holy Spirit is given perfectly and abundantly, to the immature state of the church now here on earth. The great fruit of the Spirit, holy and divine love, will fill completely every citizen of heaven. He concludes from these verses that when God’s perfect love is brought to perfection in them, that all the other gifts that God bestowed on the church in her earthly, imperfect state, will be “rendered needless.”
Consider how God, Himself, is the cause and fountain of love in heaven.
Heaven is the palace or dwelling place of “the high and holy One, Whose name is love, and Who is both the cause and source of all holy love.” God built heaven to be the place of His glorious presence where He will forever dwell and manifest Himself to all eternity. All the other places on earth where God was said to dwell (ie. in Israel, Jerusalem, the temple, the Holy Place, the Holy of Holies, and the mercy seat over the ark of the covenant) were all types. Heaven is His dwelling place above all other places in the universe.
If heaven is God’s ultimate dwelling place, then heaven is a world of love; “for God is the fountain of love as the sun is a fountain of light.” The apostle John wrote that, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Consider: if God is an infinite being then isn’t He an infinite fountain of love? And if He is an all-sufficient being, then He is a “full and over-flowing and in-exhaustible fountain of love.” Additionally, God is never-changing, which makes Him an unchangeable and eternal fountain of love. Since God is love, then He is the cause and fountain of love in heaven.
Every drop of love that ever was or will be proceeds from God. Imagine heaven. In heaven dwells “the God from whom every stream of holy love, yes, every drop that is, or ever was, proceeds. There dwells God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, united as one, in infinitely dear, and incomprehensible, and mutual, and eternal love.” Isn’t it an amazing and inspiring thing to consider how that glorious fountain of love is set in heaven without anything to hinder or thwart access to it? “There this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!” Dive in, and drink your fill!
Everyone and everything in heaven is lovely.
Edwards wished his audience to notice three things about the objects of love that heaven contains. First, there is nothing in heaven but lovely objects. “No odious (hateful or offensive), or unlovely, or polluted person or thing is to be seen there.” Being in a fallen, polluted, and hateful world, it is hard for us to imagine a place where there is nothing wicked, unholy, or undefiled as promised in Rev. 21:27. There is nothing that has been naturally or morally deformed. Everything is beautiful, pleasing, and excellent in itself. God, Himself, Father, Redeemer Son, and Sanctifier Holy Spirit are infinitely, gloriously manifested as lovely and beautiful.
What an incredibly inspiring and hope-building thought it is to consider that every person in heaven is lovely. “The Father of the family is lovely, and so are all His children; the Head of the body lovely, and so are all the members. Among the angels there are none that are unlovely.” Among the saints in heaven, there are no false professors or hypocrites. There are no pretenders who really are hateful, unkind, and unchristian in their hearts. All are beautiful in a pleasing and delightful way in themselves and to others. There is not one object in heaven that is offensive or can give cause or occasion for hatred, dislike, or negative emotion. Every object and person in heaven will forever draw forth love. Don’t you want to be there?! The second observation about the objects in heaven that Edwards made is this:
Everyone and everything in heaven is perfectly lovely.
In this world, no one and no thing is perfect, perfectly free from what might be contrary or disagreeable or disappointing. But that’s not the case in heaven. “There shall be no pollution, or deformity, or unamiable (displeasing) defect of any kind, seen in any person or thing; but everyone shall be perfectly pure, and perfectly lovely in heaven.” It lifts our souls to think that all in heaven will be perfectly bright, without any darkness. No spots, no clouds, no moral or natural defects. Nothing sinful, weak, or foolish. There will be nothing to offend or displease. No discord or disharmony. Everything and everyone shall be perfectly lovely. That is our future home!
Most of all the perfections, is God, Himself. He is perfect with an “absolute and infinite perfection.” There is Jesus, the Son, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory. He appears in heaven in the perfect fullness of His glory with none of the appearances of weakness with which He was dressed in His earthly state. The Holy Spirit will be poured out with “perfect richness and sweetness, as a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Consider this with awe and worship. Every person in heaven will be without sin or any stain, imperfection, weakness, or blemish. “The whole church, ransomed and purified, shall there be presented to Christ, as a bride, clothed in fine linen, clean and white, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Imagine being in heaven and everywhere you turned, you see nothing but dignity, beauty, perfection, and glory. The third observation about the objects of heaven and their loveliness is this:
All the good, holy, and pure things that we set our hearts upon here, will be there.
All of the good and noble things that we forsook for the sake of Christ, will be in heaven. I like the way Edwards explained this, so I’ll let him say it. “All the truly great and good, all the pure and holy and excellent from this world, and it may be from every part of the universe, are constantly tending toward heaven. As the streams tend to the ocean, so all these are tending to the great ocean of infinite purity and bliss. Every Christian friend that goes before us from this world, is a ransomed spirit waiting to welcome us in heaven. There will be the infant that we have lost below, through grace to be found above.” Isn’t that encouraging and hopeful?!
“There the Christian father, and mother, and wife, and child, and friend with whom we shall renew the holy fellowship of the saints, which was interrupted by death here, but shall be commenced again in the upper sanctuary, and then shall never end. There we shall have company with the patriarchs and fathers and saints of the Old and New Testaments. But above all, we shall enjoy and dwell with God the Father, Whom we have loved with all our hearts on earth; and with Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, Who has always been to us the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely; and with the Holy Ghost, our Sanctifier, and Guide, and Comforter; and shall be filled with all the fullness of the Godhead forever.”
Living to love with Jesus is looking at things from a heavenly perspective.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21
I hope this blog has helped your perspective significantly. I hope it has inspired, convinced, and encouraged you to live your life to love God by loving others with Jesus. If we are already citizens of heaven, then it seems wise and lovely to view this world and those God puts in our paths from His heavenly perspective. He sees us, not as we are on the earth, but as we are in heaven. May our minds be renewed by the truth of God’s love poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit as a down-payment of the perfect love we are to be immersed into when we enter into heaven forever.