Homesick for Our True Country

It is possible for a Christian to be, as the saying goes, "so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good"? Genevan pastor Simon Goulart (1543-1628) didn't think so. The French Reformer closed the first volume of his Christian Discourses with a mind-blowing description of heaven, calling Christians to meditate upon the glories of the resurrection and their eternal dwelling with Christ - not merely on their deathbeds, but throughout their lives. This, after all, is the goal of our existence, our great reward, and the basis of all Christian hope. Goulart's words makes the pilgrim homesick for his true homeland.

“The eternal and blessed life with God in heaven, accompanied by rest and unspeakable glory, is the goal of the faith of Christians. This is the harbor of their hope, the refuge of all their desires, the crown of their consolation that they will certainly enjoy, having escaped from the travails of this miserable and fleeting earthly life, indeed, from death itself.

They will receive in heaven...glorified bodies, healed of all evils, no longer afflicted by sin, ignorance, errors, illness, sadness, worry, fear, anguish, or enemies. They will be delivered from all pain and suffering. They will enjoy fully and completely the Lord their God, the fountain and inexhaustible treasure of all good things, who will pour out on them all his goodness, his infinite joy, with which he will satisfy all their thoughts and desires. They will see him face to face, without any clouds to obscure him. They will learn of God's wisdom with regard to the creation and redemption of his elect by means of Jesus Christ, and the reasons for his all-powerful and wondrous works. The eternal Father will disclose his burning and unspeakable love for them, which he demonstrated by sending his Son into the world to draw them from death into eternal life. His children will be moved by his gracious work, filled with wonder, contentment, and ineffable delight, and will love their heavenly Father with a burning love, submitting themselves fully to his wisdom with eager joy. And they will submit to him as their only sovereign and greatest good. And they will rejoice with continuous joy in his presence, magnifying his glory, singing of his goodness along with the holy Angels and the entire Church triumphant. There they will see Jesus Christ, the blessed virgin Mother, the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Apostles, and all the faithful who have preceded them, including their family members and friends who died in repentance and faith. This entire company together, with one heart and voice, will recall the goodness and infinite blessings God has shown them, celebrating with songs of thanksgiving the praises of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...

Thus, eternal life is the end and fulfillment of all good things, for which God has purchased us through his Son. This is the goal on which our gaze should be fixed throughout our earthly pilgrimage. This is the treasure that we should unceasingly desire. This is the hour and the blessing to which all the plans and efforts of our lives should be inclined…This is our true country, our permanent city, in which our citizenship has been acquired by the merit of the death of Jesus Christ. This is the home that we long for, amidst the banishments, the weariness, the dangerous fears of this valley of misery and the shadow of death. This is the safe refuge and the beautiful harbor toward which we sail amidst so many waves and storms that constantly trouble the world. This is the blessed land where we will dwell by means of death.”

Where is your treasure? May we seek first the kingdom of God, for in Jesus Christ, we have something far better than all the comforts of this world. We have eternal life and a glorious inheritance through God’s own Son, who has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Amen.