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Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory}


First lay up sound hopes for Heaven. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 NASB). Sure hopes of Heaven are wonderfully useful to enliven a soul’s urgent labors for Heaven. “To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews” (Acts 26:7 NKJV). It was their hopes to enjoy those great and glorious things in the promise that put them to such diligence in those ways that lead to it and caused them to strive in every duty that seemed to point to this glory. They stretched out their hands to take hold of eternal life, as one that is near to the prize. Hope puts strength and activity into the soul in its passion for God and makes it restless and unwearied until it enjoys Him. The apostle used this argument to provoke the Hebrews in their race toward glory: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NASB). The weight of the argument lies in the sure and blessed outcome of well-grounded hope attested by so many witnesses in the former chapter who ran such great hazards, sustained such great losses, and underwent such cruel deaths in pursuit of the eternal crown. Not one of them miscarried; all got safe to glory as they passed through their many fears and deaths. All who had this true hope have sped well. The same promise is made to us. “God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Hebrews 11:40 NKJV). God has even provided something better for us: better privileges and better promises. Therefore let us pluck up our spirits and be at it again. And if no visible comfort or evidence meets us in our way, let us hold on with patience until we come to the end of our race.


Hopes of glory also guard the soul against discouragements and difficulties. “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 ESV). Hope arms head and heart and protects against the poisoned darts of Satan ruining the soul. While a well-grounded hope of a blessed outcome is kept up, Israel prevails and the believer is kept from being overcome. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the worldour faith” (1 John 5:4 ESV).1629


Hopes of glory maintain a patient expectation and quiet waiting for the fulfillment of it. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” (Romans 8:25 NASB). This is no small mercy; impatience has a dangerous influence on a Christian’s heart, discouraging it and exposing it to the temptation to give up. “While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him and he said, ‘Behold, this evil is from the Lord; why should I wait for the Lord any longer?’” (2 Kings 6:33 NASB). Hope secures us from this danger.


Hope settles and supports the heart, stills its fears, scatters its doubts, strengthens its confident expectation of glory, and converts persuasions into the highest certainty, even a kind of knowledge. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2 ESV). Well-grounded and well-utilized hope in a Christian’s life usually ends in a triumphing confidence at his death. Mr. Rutherford, a precious servant of God, on his deathbed, said, “I will shine; I will see Him as He is and all the fair company with Him, and will have my large share. It is no easy a thing to be a Christian, but as for me, I have obtained the victory and Christ is holding forth His arms to embrace me. I have had my fears and weaknesses as any other sinful man. I feared whether I would be carried through [death] creditably, but as sure as He ever spoke to me in His Word, His Spirit witnessed to my heart saying, ‘Fear not.’ He has accepted my sufferings and the exit gate should not be a matter of prayer, but of praise.” And, a little before his death, after some fainting, he said, “Now I feel, I believe, I enjoy, I rejoice, I feed on manna, I have angel’s food, my eyes will see my Redeemer.” Oh, what rich cheer will hope of glory find on a deathbed. Mr. John Holland, the day before his death, said, “What brightness is that I see? Have you lit a candle?” A bystander answered, “No, it is the sun.” He replied, “It is not sunshine, it is my Savior who shines. Now farewell world, welcome Heaven. The Day Star from on high has visited my heart. Oh, speak it when I am gone, and preach it at my funeral. God deals familiarly with people. I feel His mercy and see His majesty. I see things that are unutterable.” Hopes of glory will make the world seem a very poor thing in a believer’s eye. A person, who by faith can stand on Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 32:49)1630 and get one glance at the Promised Land, as his land, as he feeds on the first ripe grapes of his own country will consider all the world’s dainties to be comparatively bitter things. Hopes of glory cheer the heart on the way to glory. “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2 ESV). “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 ESV). Hope makes the soul go merrily on as a ship under sail that has both the wind and ocean currents in its favor. But a doubting saint goes forward with difficulty when wind and waves go against him because he lacks faith and hope. Sure hope of Heaven gets honey out of the rock and meat out of the eater that make his rough ways plain and his passage to Heaven pleasant. When Christians lose their hopes of Heaven, it makes them so uncomfortable in their passage through the world.


Well-grounded hopes of heaven greatly encourage preparations for it and encourage further holiness. “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3 NASB). When the apostle speaks of the faith of God’s elect that is according to godliness, he lays this hope on eternal life. “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” (Titus 1:1–2 NASB). Solid expectations of Heaven must constrain a soul to utmost measures of holiness. “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14 NKJV). Heaven is a place of perfect holiness; no unclean thing can enter there. The eye of faith sees this and the soul’s right to it, and thus sets a person to perfecting his or her holiness that he or she may be ready to enter in.1631 Oh, then lay up hopes of glory that have such precious fruit hanging on them.


QUESTION: But what are the characteristics of those sure hopes of glory—which promise of glory will never fail—from which we may expect such excellent fruit?


Sure Hopes for Glory Result from Union with Christ

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Sure Hopes for Glory Result from Union with Christ}


This is the first characteristic of sure hopes for glory: sure hopes of glory that will never fail arise out of a saving union with the Lord Jesus, the Lord of Glory. “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 ESV). Christ united to you and dwelling in you by His Spirit is this glorious treasure spoken of in the first part of this verse. Here are two arguments to endear the Lord Jesus to believers:


First, in their union with Christ, believers are endowed with great and unsearchable treasures. Christ Himself is that glorious and hidden riches made known in the Gospel, and He is given to believers when they receive Him into their hearts by faith. Believers thus have part of their treasure in hand now in their present union and communion with Him and also the blessed fruits and consequences of it here on earth.


Another thing that renders Christ precious to believers is that their union with Him is the foundation of their right to and evidence of their hope of glory. Glory is in them so far as they have the hope of glory. They have assurance of their future and eternal enjoyment of Himself and all His treasure laid up in glory. There is no other way to have a right to glory except by union with Christ, Who has purchased glory only for those who are His and have this spiritual union with Him. Hence it is that the Lord Jesus Christ is called a better hope (John 17:21–26).1632 “For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. And inasmuch as it was not without an oath (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, ‘The Lord has sworn And will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever”’); so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:18–22 NASB). The Lord Jesus in His priestly office, of which the ceremonial law was a foreshadow, brought in a ground of better hope by opening the way to God in grace and glory. All right to glory is through Him Who is the Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8),1633 and Who has the right to distribute it to whom He pleases, to those whom the Father has given to Him to be His (John 17:2).1634 To these, He gives eternal life (John 10:28).1635 Those who are in union with Christ cannot perish, being members of His body, flesh and bones. If a soul that has received Christ here should miss glory hereafter, that member of Christ would perish, and Christ’s body in Heaven would be maimed and imperfect. But this cannot happen; Christ’s Church is the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:22–23).1636 And, Christ has given His Word for it that they will not perish (John 10:28).1637 Not one of those who are truly in Christ will be lost (John 17:10).1638 They are His servants and will be where He is (John 12:26).1639 [The Church will] be His spouse, who will always be with Him. Thus, test your union with Christ. Have you received Him into your heart by faith? Are you one spirit with Him, having the same mind in you that was in Christ Jesus? Do you want to be holy as He is holy? Is it the case that nothing short of complete oneness with Christ can satisfy you? Indeed, you have carnal desires inside the borders of your souls that crave for satisfaction. And, sometimes those desires will get it whether you wish it or not.1640 But there is another law in your mind warring against this law in your members (Romans 7:23).1641 You cannot rest until you arrive more to His likeness Who is your life, righteousness, and glory. Do you partake of Christ’s death and resurrection, and have you been brought into some conformity to Him? And do you live by Him, as the branch lives by the root, for all your grace and supply? Do you rest on Him as a stone on the foundation for your support in grace to glory as your only Lord and righteousness? Then your hopes for glory are sure and certain hopes.


Sure Hopes for Glory Are the Fruit of True Grace

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Sure Hopes for Glory Are the Fruit of True Grace}


A second characteristic of sure hopes for glory is that true grace secures your hopes of glory. Truth of grace is the earnest, seal, and firstfruits of glory. “Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:22 NKJV). Grace is God’s seal that verifies the promise of glory, and what greater security can there be? It is His down payment that is never taken away, as a [human] pledge may be, but His down payment secures the entire sum, and is even part of that sum. Grace is that seed of God that remains in the believer (1 John 3:9)1642 and secures the soul’s state against final apostasy through its union with the Spirit dwelling in him (Romans 8:11).1643 Prove the truth of your grace (however so weak) and you will prove your title to glory. Does your grace owe its existence to the fullness of Christ (John 1:16)1644 and acknowledge its dependence on Him and that Christ is its source? Does your grace spread itself into every ability and capability of your soul, wholly sanctified throughout (1 Thessalonians 5:23)?1645 Is your grace unable to mix with sin or endure the least evil (Revelation 2:2)?1646 Does your grace, according to its measure, have an irreconcilable enmity against every known sin (Galatians 5:17)?1647 Does your grace not rest in any measure short of perfection, but desires more and more grace, and endeavors to get it (1 Peter 2:3)?1648 Does your grace have a pure and ultimate purpose to glorify God in everything (Philippians 1:20–21)1649 so that Christ may be magnified (John 3:30)?1650 Do you deny yourself (Luke 9:23)?1651 If so, your grace is true grace, and in time, will lead to glory.


Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: True Grace Makes a Believer Dead to the World

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Evidence of Sure Hopes: Believer Is Dead to the World}


A third characteristic of sure hopes for glory is that true grace makes a believer dead to the world, which deadness is evidence of sure hopes of glory. The heirs of glory are chosen out of the world and are not of the world (John 15:19).1652 They are redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3)1653 and have not received the spirit of this world, but the Holy Spirit from God (1 Corinthians 2:12).1654 They are crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14)1655 and dead to the desires, pleasures, and concerns of this world (Colossians 3:1–2).1656 Dead people have no sense of or delight in things. Likewise, those who are dead to this world have no satisfying pleasure in earthly things. Earthly things can no more satisfy a heavenly soul than dung can feed a living person. Christian, test how your heart stands emotionally attached to earthly things. Are these great in your eye, friendly to your affections, attractive to your desires, and priorities in your wishes beyond the things of Heaven? If so, then your hopes of Heaven are false according to divine evidence, and will at last leave your name written on the earth [instead of the Book of Life].


Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: True Hopes are Active Hopes

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Evidence of Sure Hopes: True Hopes are Active Hopes}


A fourth characteristic of sure hopes for glory is that true hopes are active hopes, lively hopes. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NASB). They are hopes that put life in your affections and spirits and make you vigorous after holiness and the way to glory (Ephesians 2:10).1657 True hopes for heaven will make you run in the road to Heaven and put you on all kinds of holy ways of life. Paul’s hopes for Heaven put him on labors and striving after perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 5:8–9; Philippians 3:12–14).1658 Test your hopes: do they enliven you in duty or leave you dead? If you have no heart for the ways of God, no delight in approaching Him, or His commands are grievous to you, this is evidence of unsound and frail hopes for Heaven that will, at last, deceive you. But suitable labors for heaven are evidence for sure hopes for Heaven.


Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: Your Citizenship Is in Heaven

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Evidence of Sure Hopes: Your Citizenship Is in Heaven}


A fifth characteristic of sure hopes for glory is that your citizenship is in Heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20–21 NASB). You will be engaged with heavenly things and prosecuting heavenly concerns. You will be maintaining communication with Heaven and keeping up your conversations with God. You will be often taking journeys to Heaven in your contemplation and desires. Your business will be much and frequently in Heaven. Though you live on earth, you will keep company with Heaven. As Dr. Preston said when he was near death, “I will just change my place, not my company.” Oh, test your hopes for Heaven by your citizenship [in heart] if it is engaged about the things of Heaven now. If your works are in Heaven, your rest will be in Heaven also.


Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: You Willingly Endure Suffering Along the Way

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation to Good Traders in Christianity

Advice: Lay Up for Glory

Lay Up Sound Hopes for Glory

Evidence of Sure Hopes for Glory: Willingness to Suffer}


A sixth characteristic of sure hopes for glory is that, if you have true hopes for Heaven and glory, you will willingly undergo whatever sufferings and dangers lie in your way to Heaven. One who is sure of reaching home at last will venture through any dangers along the way. Oh, what hazards people will run through to get an earthly crown! No difficulties will discourage them. How much more will hopes for Heaven carry souls through the Red Sea of afflictions and bloody sufferings they may meet with before they come to it (Acts 20:24; 21:13)!1659 A person who cannot be content to drink of the cup Christ drinks of, and that the Father will give him to drink, and to submit to the cruelest death, losses, shame, trials, and torments that his faithfulness to God may bring to him must reconsider again, and come to another conclusion about his future state. No easier conditions can be granted. “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33 ESV). “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me’” (Matthew 16:24 NASB). “After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God’” (Acts 14:21–22 NASB). “If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12 NASB).


1629Faith is trust in God for things past, present, and future. Hope is the result of exercise of faith in God for the future.

1630Go up to this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab opposite Jericho, and look at the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the sons of Israel for a possession” (Deuteronomy 32:49 NASB).

1631Of course, nobody will ever be pure or holy enough to enter Heaven except by being justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But all who are truly saved will yearn for holiness. With regard to sanctification, “being made fit for Heaven” is a common expression but in itself false. It is only through the Lord Jesus that sanctification is real, and the degree of even the best earthly sanctification is far short of the final sanctification that is granted to believers on entrance to Heaven, for “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2 NASB). A failure to yearn for holiness is a sign of lack of justification.

1632That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:21–26 NASB).

1633None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8 ESV).

1634As You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him” (John 17:2 NKJV).

1635And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 NKJV).

1636And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22–23 NASB).

1637And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28 NKJV).

1638And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them” (John 17:10 NKJV).

1639If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26 NASB).

1640For example, if you bang your head against a sharp corner, you may utter an unprintable word. To some extent, this sin pounced on you, but it was still sin.

1641But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23 NASB).

1642No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for Gods seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 ESV).

1643But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11 NKJV).

1644For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:16 NASB).

1645Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV).

1646I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars” (Revelation 2:2 NKJV).

1647For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17 NASB).

1648If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:3 ESV).

1649According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20–21 NASB).

1650He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30 NKJV).

1651And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23 NASB).

1652If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:19 NASB).

1653They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3 NKJV).

1654Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12 NASB).

1655But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14 ESV).

1656Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1–2 NASB).

1657For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).

1658We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:8–9 NASB). “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–14 ESV).

1659But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NKJV). “Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus’” (Acts 21:13 ESV).

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