22nd April 2020
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
What Christ is to the Church, what the Church is to Christ, can never be really known till time gives place to eternity, faith to sight, and hope to enjoyment. Nor even then, however beyond all present conception the powers and faculties of the glorified souls and bodies of the saints may be expanded, however conformed to the glorious image of Christ, or however ravished with the discoveries of his glory and the sight of him as he is in one unclouded day,—no, not even then, will the utmost stretch of creature love, or highest refinement of creature intellect, wholly embrace or fully comprehend that love of Christ, which, as in time so in eternity, “passeth knowledge,” as being in itself essentially incomprehensible, because infinite and divine. Who can calculate the amount of light and heat that dwell in, and are given forth by the sun that shines so gloriously in the noonday sky? We see, we feel, we enjoy its bright beams; but who can number the millions of millions of rays that it casts forth upon all the surface of the earth, diffusing light, heat, and fertility to every part? If the creature be so great, glorious and incomprehensible, how much more great, glorious and incomprehensible must be its divine Creator! The Scripture testimony of the saints in glory is that “when Christ shall appear, they shall be like him, for they shall see him as he is;” that they shall then see the Lord “face to face, and know even as also they are known;” that their “vile body shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body;” that they shall be “conformed to his image,” and “be satisfied when they awake with his likeness;” that they shall be “before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple;” that “their sun shall no more go down, for the Lord shall be their everlasting light;” that they shall have “an exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” and shall “shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever.” But, with all this unspeakable bliss and glory, there must be in infinite Deity unfathomable depths which no creature, however highly exalted, can ever sound; heights which no finite, dependent being can ever scan. God became man, but man never can become God. He fully knows us, but we never can fully know him, for even in eternity, as in time, it may be said to the creature, “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.” But if, as we believe, eternity itself can never fully or entirely reveal the heights and depths of the love of a Triune God, how little can be known of it in a time state! and yet that little is the only balm for all sorrow, the only foundation of solid rest and peace.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869