Key passage

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.

John 3:16–21

Quotes from Chapter 23

… so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us.

Ephesians 2:7

When we live to glorify God, we step into the only true humanizing way of living. What more enjoyable kind of life is there? How exhausting is the misery of self. How energizing are the joys of living for another.

In what ways do we glorify God? And off into eternity, how will God be glorified forevermore?

One way we glorify God is by our obedience to him, our refusing to believe we know best and instead trusting that his way is the way of life.

The creation of the world seems to have been especially for this end, that the eternal Son of God might obtain a spouse, towards whom he might fully exercise the infinite benevolence of his nature, and to whom he might, as it were, open and pour forth all that immense fountain of condescension, love, and grace that was in his heart, and that in this way God might be glorified.1

Jonathan Edwards

Benevolence means a disposition to be kind and good. Christ is infinitely benevolent; human history is his opportunity to “open and pour forth all that immense fountain of condescension, love, and grace.”

Christ’s glory is preeminently seen and enjoyed in his love to sinners.

The souls of departed saints with Christ in heaven, shall have Christ as it were unbosomed unto them, manifesting those infinite riches of love towards them, that have been there from eternity. … They shall eat and drink abundantly, and swim in the ocean of love, and be eternally swallowed up in the infinitely bright, and infinitely mild and sweet beams of divine love.2

Jonathan Edwards

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:4–7

The point of unending eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth is that God “might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

The very point of heaven and eternity is to enjoy his “grace in kindness.”

If his grace in kindness is “immeasurable,” then our failures can never outstrip his grace.

He sends his grace to us, personally, individually, eternally. He sends not grace in the abstract but Christ himself. That’s why Paul immediately adds “in Christ Jesus.”

Those in union with him are promised that all the haunted brokenness that infects everything will one day be rewound and reversed. The more darkness and pain we experience in this life, the more resplendence and relief in the next.

In the coming age we will descend ever deeper into God’s grace in kindness, into his very heart, and the more we understand of it, the more we will see it to be beyond understanding. It is immeasurable.

For those not in Christ, this life is the best it will ever get. For those in Christ, this life is the worst it will ever get.

In that resurrection morning, when the Sun of Righteousness shall appear in the heavens, shining in all his brightness and glory, he will come forth as a bridegroom; he shall come in the glory of his Father, will all his holy angels.

That will be a joyful meeting of this glorious bridegroom and bride indeed. Then the bridegroom will appear in all his glory without any veil: and then the saints shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, and at the right hand of their Redeemer.

Then will come the time, when Christ will sweetly invite his spouse to enter in with him into the palace of his glory, which he had been preparing for her from the foundation of the world, and shall as it were take her by the hand, and lead her in with him: and this glorious bridegroom and bride shall with all their shining ornaments, ascend up together into the heaven of heaven; the whole multitude of glorious angels waiting upon them: and this Son and daughter of God shall, in their united glory and joy, present themselves together before the Father; when Christ shall say, “Here am I, and the children which thou hast given me”: and they both shall in that relation and union, together receive the Father’s blessing; and shall thenceforward rejoice together, in consummate, uninterrupted, immutable, and everlasting glory, in the love and embraces of each other, and joint enjoyment of the love of the Father.3

Jonathan Edwards

  1. Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 25, Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758, ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 187.
  2. Jonathan Edwards, “True Saints, When Absent From the Body, Are Present With the Lord,” in Works, 25:233.
  3. Jonathan Edwards, “The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God,” in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 25, Sermons and Discourses, 17431758,ed. Wilson H. Kimnach (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 183–84.

Questions

  • What does it mean to glorify God?
  • In what ways do we glorify God?
  • How will God be glorified forevermore?
  • What does the word benevolence mean?
  • Who is infinitely benevolent?
  • What is the point of unending eternal life?
  • How or in whom does God send his grace to us?
  • Can our failures outstrip God’s grace?
  • Is God’s grace an excuse to sin?
  • Define the difference of this life for those who are in Christ and those who are not in Christ that this chapter points out.
  • What do you look forward to most in eternity?
  • Reflect on what you have learned through this book. How will you be received in heaven?

This article is adapted from: Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund and Gentle and Lowly Study Guide by Robert Zink.