Eternal Joy Tomorrow
HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 22
How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you?
Not only my soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but even my very flesh, raised by the power of Christ, will be reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious body.
How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?
Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.
Eternal Joy Tomorrow
Friday, May 26: 1 John 3:1-3
I have spoken multiple times about eternal joy. On February 10, we learned that the gospel of Jesus has earned for us and restored to us righteousness and life (Lord’s Day 6). On April 15, we learned that Christ set us free from eternal condemnation and gained for us eternal life (Lord’s Day 15). And on May 6, we learned that the coming judge, Jesus, is our comfort and joy (Lord’s Day 19). Lord’s Day 22 also articulates this gospel promise: “After this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.” Did you know that God has placed a hunger for eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11)? Did you also know that we try to find that eternal joy in things like financial stability, family identity, public acclaim, political parties or educational credentials? The Bible invites us to resist those idols and to rest in Jesus (Matthew 6:21,24). Financial markets crash, families fall apart, close friends may become harsh enemies, politicians have mastered the art of false promises, and educational achievement does not translate to daily wisdom. They are nothing compared to life that is rooted in the “enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:22-25). We who are followers of Jesus Christ should learn to hold life loosely. Lord’s Day 22, like Lord’s Day 1, is written so that we will look beyond ourselves, others, and the stuff of life for genuine comfort and joy. The Catechism is teaching that since we are made for eternity, we should keep our eyes fixed on the Eternal One (Romans 14:7-8). Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” the one who is preparing the “perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.” (Revelation 21:5-6). We may have the beginning of eternal joy today, but we have an even brighter hope for tomorrow. Praise God.
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn