God has told us amazing things about our future, because he wants us to be amazed.
He has told us hopeful things, because he wants us to feel hope — really feelhope. Hope without a heartfelt gladness about what is coming, is not hope. This is why God tells us such gladness-producing things. He wants us to enjoy now, with profound assurance, the joyful feeling of hope. “Rejoice in hope!” (Romans [12:12]).
My experience is that I can read God’s words about my future, and pass over them so quickly, that they have no emotional effect. Such reading does not awaken or intensify hope. It does not make us unbending, glad-hearted, green trees in the midst of drought.
Surely this is why the green-tree Christian, whose leaves do not wither, and who bears fruit when others are dying, is the Christian who “meditates on the law of the Lord day and night” (Psalm 1:2). He lingers over God’s hope-giving promises until he feels hope.
Pick the Peach of God’s Promise
When we find a promise, like a juicy peach, hanging on the branch of Scripture, we don’t say, “That’s a peach,” and move on through the orchard. We stop. We reach up and pick the peach. We bite down. We taste. And if we find our taste buds are dead, we plead for God to give us life. “Give me life, O Lord, according to your word!” (Psalm 1[19:10]7).
Come with me to the orchard of hope. I want you to join me in tasting the peach that I picked a few days ago. In my reading, I came to 1 Corinthians 2:7, where Paul says,
We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
I stopped. I picked this peach of hope, and it has been refreshing me for several days. I knew it was there. But this time, it was luscious with hope. It was ripe for picking. And I was ripe. And oh how good it has tasted. How it has fed my soul, sweetened my sleep, and strengthened me for some hard things that are coming. Come, have a taste with me.
BEFORE THE AGES
“Before the ages” — that is before time, and therefore before creation, when there was only God in existence — God was exercising his “wisdom.” This is infinite wisdom. And in his eternal, infinite wisdom, he was planning that one day we would experience “our glory” to the full. “God decreed a wisdom before the ages for our glory.”
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM
For whom was he planning this glory? He was planning it “for those who love him.” Verse 9: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, God prepared for those who love him.” God decreed, before the creation of the world, that we who love him would be glorious.
FROM THE DEPTHS OF GOD
This decree was not secondary in the wisdom of God. Paul says it came from “the depths of God.” Verse 10: “These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” The hope-giving juices of this peach reach back before the ages, back into the wisdom of God, back into the decrees of God, and back into “the depths of God.”
DECREED FOR OUR GLORY
What will this include? What should we feel hope for when we ponder at night that we might die before we wake up in the morning?
Paul says we should feel hope for “ourglory.” In what sense is this glory ours? Not ours separate from God’s. Not ours separate from Christ’s. That is not our hope — to be glorious with a glory not God’s and not Christ’s. Rather, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). And the glory of hisChrist! “To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians [2:14]).
THE WORLD IS YOURS
“Obtain” it how? First as a world, a kingdom, a habitation. “God calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians [2:12]). “All things are yours, whether . . . the world or life or death or the present or the future — all are yours” (1 Corinthians [3:21]–22). We will obtain “our glory” the way a prisoner, who has lived in a cold, dark dungeon for decades, walks into a paradise of light and color and warmth and living freshness. As far as he can see, in every direction, there is beauty. He smells it. Hears it. Tastes it. It envelops him, and he feels it in every pore of his skin. Glory will be our habitation. The glorious new world will be “our glory.”
The light and the beauty of every beautiful thing — and everything will be beautiful — will be the light and beautyof God. “The glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation [21:23]). Every redeemed prisoner released from the dungeon of this age will cry out, “In your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). “Our glory” will be the glory of God above and in everything.
Written by John Piper
Full article at Desiring God