Monday Morning Devotions: The Pilgrim’s Goal

In chapter 2 of Peace for the Troubled Heart Rev. Hoeksema provides an exposition of Hebrews 13:4, “For we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” He explains that this word of God encourages us to press on to the goal of heaven while we recognize that this world is not our home. Understanding the beauty of heaven as our goal encourages us to seek it as our goal. Here is part of what Rev. Hoeksema says about the heavenly city we seek:

God is the chief joy of the heavenly Jerusalem. His presence fills the city. His blessed covenant friendship perfected is the very essence of all its bliss and rejoicing. Unlike the earthly Jerusalem, built of wood and stone, it has no temple. If you entered the gates of Jerusalem that once was, and if you would inquire as to the dwelling place of the Most High, and you would be pointed to a building made with hands. If, approaching the temple and entering through its outer gate, you would repeat your query, bystanders would direct your gaze to the sanctuary proper, at the same time warning you that you could not enter there to see the face of God. It was all so imperfect, earthly, and prophetic of things to come. But when you enter the heavenly city through its pearly gates, you need not inquire, for there is no temple there. God himself and the Lamb are the temple of that city, and its preeminent joy and glory is that there the tabernacle of God is with men; he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God.

We need to be reminded of how good the goal is because the way to the heavenly city is difficult. Rev. Hoeksema explains that the way to the heavenly city is through the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is the means by which pilgrims “have properly washed garments to enter the city of eternal light and joy.” But the cross is also the symbol of the world’s rejection of Jesus and all of his servants on earth who “share his reproach.” In light of the suffering involved in living a pilgrim’s life it is good for us to know the goal and that it “is about to come.” Rev. Hoeksema reminds us that the sufferings of this life are brief in comparison to eternal glory. “Yet a little patience and a little suffering, yet a little struggle, and a little battle, and the end of your journey will be reached. A very light affliction quickly passing and then eternal joy.”

With this encouragement pilgrims are ready to hear the call to continue to direct their lives towards the heavenly city that is to come. Rev. Hoeksema writes, “Seek that city! Press on!”

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