Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Joy: He Comes to Make His Blessings Flow


No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.


Do you recognize the words above?  They are the third verse of Joy to the World, a popular song at Christmastime.  Have you ever stopped to think about what this verse means?  I never did until I read Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven

Learning more about Heaven and the New Earth and the joy that awaits me there is one of the reasons that I have joy today. One day the curse will be gone, and those who are Christians will dwell on the New Earth forever.  What will the New Earth be like?  Like Earth, only so much better!  There will be no curse, no sin, no pain, no suffering.  Believers will be given new bodies.  We will be strong and healthy, living and working and playing and glorifying God, just like we were created to do.

When mankind sinned, the Earth was placed under a curse (Genesis 3).  Today all of creation groans under the curse.  Romans 8:19-22 says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (NIV).

Life under the curse is hard, and creation groans under this weight.  But one day the curse will be removed.  There will be no more sin and suffering, no more thorns infesting the grown.
Jesus came not only to save spirits from damnation.  That would have been, at most, a partial victory.  No, He came to save His whole creation from death.  That means our bodies too, not just our spirits.  It means the earth, not just humanity.  And it means the universe, not just the earth. 
Christ’s victory over the Curse will not be partial.  Death will not just limp away wounded.  It will be annihilated, utterly destroyed: “[God] will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth” (Isaiah 25:7-8)…
God will lift the Curse, not only morally (in terms of sins) and psychologically (in terms of sorrows), but also physically (in terms of thorns in the ground).  How far does Christ’s redemptive work extend?  Far as the curse is found.  If redemption failed to reach the farthest boundaries of the Curse, it would be incomplete.  The God who rules the world with truth and grace won’t be satisfied until every sin, every sorrow, every thorn is reckoned with….  
We have never seen the earth as God made it.  Our planet as we know it is a shadowy, halftone image of the original.  But it does whet our appetites for the New Earth, doesn’t it?  If the present Earth, so diminished by the Curse, is at times so beautiful and wonderful; if our bodies, so diminished by the Curse, are at times overcome with a sense of the earth’s beauty and wonder; the how magnificent will the New Earth be?  And what will it be like to experience the New Earth in something else we’ve never known: perfect bodies? (Heaven, 107-108).
After learning more about Heaven and what life on the New Earth will entail, it has become so much easier for me to give up pleasures now.  I’ll probably never again be able to climb a mountain in this body of mine that is growing weaker. I can’t travel well anymore.  My autonomic nervous system probably wouldn’t be able to handle the excitement of a roller coaster ride.  I’m not strong enough to ice skate anymore.  But that’s okay, because I know that I’ll have all of eternity to live, work, have fun, and praise God on the New Earth!

Do you know if you are going to Heaven when you die?  Will the New Earth be a place where you will get to live one day?  If so, please leave me a message in the comments sharing one fun thing that we can do together on the New Earth, and then let’s plan on it, okay?

Are you wondering about Heaven and the New Earth?  Are you unsure about where you will go after you die?  Send me an email; I would love to talk with you more.  I want you to know about the joys waiting in Heaven.   I want you to know the way to Heaven, and I really want to see you there some day.

And because it is never too early for good Christmas music, here is Joy to the World.  (If you are reading this through email, you will need to click over to see the video.)




Joy to the World

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

By Isaac Watts


Photo Credit: Alexander Shchukin

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