Johnathan Edward was known for preaching hellfire and brimstone like “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." However, very few people understand that he also preached a sermon that is consumed with a vision of the eternal bliss that awaits the people of God. In his sermon, he gives such a vivid picture of the reality of heaven that brings so much joy and satisfaction to the saints whenever they think about heaven. The sermon is called “Heaven is a world of love.” It is an exposition of First Corinthians chapter 13 verses 8-10. Johnathan Edwards is one of the few that saw the terror of hell and the extraordinary beauty and loveliness of heaven.
Most of us are looking forward to the promise of eternal bliss in the future. Nevertheless, if you ask Christians to describe heaven, they often fail to describe it adequately. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven, yet many of us know so little about heaven. Our lack of vision of heaven does not fuel us in our perseverance to the final destination. In his sermon, Johnathan Edward gives three realities about heaven that would spur us to pass through all difficulties on the way to heaven.
God is the Cause and Fountain of Love in Heaven
First John chapter 4 verse 8 states that God is love, and he dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace or presence of the Holy One, whose name is love, and who is both the cause and source of all love. Because God is love, and his glorious presence fills heaven with love, heaven is a world of love. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit love each other with the perfect eternal love. Psalm chapter 73 verse 25 says, “Who have I in heaven but you?” When we desire heaven, we desire the God of heaven. It is impossible to desire heaven without desiring God, for heaven is the world of God's love.
In Heaven, the Love will be Pure, Holy, and Perfect
In its nature, this love is altogether holy and divine. Most of the love in the world is unholy and contaminated by sin. It must compete with the love of the world. However, in heaven, love is not carnal but spiritual. It is free of selfish motives, and it is not directed to mean and vile purposes. It is pure and holy love whose object is God alone. There will be nothing that will compete with the love of God. The saints in heaven love God for His glory and each other for God’s sake.
The love in heaven is not only pure and holy but also perfect in its degree. God’s love toward the saints is perfect according to His infinite and divine perfection. Also, the love of the saints toward God will be perfect according to their nature. It is a perfect love with a sinless perfection, and perfect in that it is commensurate to their nature's capacities. Their love toward God will be free of any pride or selfishness. There shall be no hatred, contempt, coldness, or deadness of heart toward God and Christ in heaven. There is also an indescribable pure, sweet, genuine, and passionate love between the saints in glory. It is the perfect love that resides in every heart toward others without limit, or interruption, without envy, or malice, or contempt or selfishness, and such things have no place in heaven.
The Saints will Mutually Express that Kind of Love Perfectly in Heaven.
The love in heaven is always mutual. It does not seek its own, and it will always be reciprocated. The saint will love God with an inconceivable ardency of heart and the utmost of their capacity. They also know that God has loved them from eternity past, still loves them, and will love them forever. First John chapter 4 verse 19 says, "We love because He first loved us.” In heaven, we shall love Him perfectly because He first loved us.
The love of the saints toward each other will always be mutual and reciprocated as well. The joy of heavenly love will never be interrupted or damped by jealousy. There will be no such thing as flattery or dishonesty in heaven, but perfect sincerity will reign. There shall be no such thing as inconsistency and unfaithfulness in heaven to disturb the friendship of the blessed society. In heaven, because sin is removed, nothing will hinder the saints from expressing their love toward one another. They will have no dullness and corruption of heart to war against divine love and restrict its expression. There will not be any indecent, unwise, or foolish speech or action. No wall of separation. All shall be united because the supreme object of their worship is Christ.
If heaven is such a world that Johnathan Edward just described, then let us all earnestly seek after it. Let us press on seeking its possession. Let us all know the God of heaven now before we get there. Do not let our heart go after the things of this world that we forget our final destination. Johnathan Edward said, “Labour to get a sense of the vanity of this world and labour to be much acquainted with heaven.” Therefore, let us be content to pass through all difficulties on the way to heaven.
Dat Nguyen is a student at the Master’s Seminary and a member of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, California. His desire is to be a faithful minister of the Word of God. He loves playing basketball and watching movies.