The Gift of ‘No More…’
God’s gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus comes with so much more than we can imagine.
In fact, it comes with the blessing of “NO MORE . . .”
When my twin brother, a minister of the gospel, was dying from cancer last year, we were all praying God would somehow push back the awful disease and give him at least a few more years to serve the Lord. After the call came that he was going into hospice, I got in the car and drove to see him, not knowing what to expect when I got there.
As I walked into the room, I immediately changed my prayer. The intense amount of pain and suffering I saw when I looked at my brother caused me to ask God to have mercy on him and take him home. The Lord answered that prayer; and 24 hours later, my brother was with Jesus.
Witnessing his home-going deepened my appreciation of my favorite verse in the Bible: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
Although my brother’s pain was gone, mine had increased as I experienced the greatest loss of my life. But I understood as never before the seriousness of facing death—our awful, obscene enemy. By comparison, God’s promise for tomorrow became even greater and something I now embrace even more strongly.
No More . . .
The context of Revelation 21:4 gives us God’s promise concerning what we call the eternal state, the glorious time following the Millennium. In verse 1, we see “a new heaven and a new earth.” The old earth has passed away, along with all of its unpleasant experiences.
In verse 2, the apostle John sees the New Jerusalem descend to the new earth. This city will be the permanent home of Church Age believers on the new earth. The most important aspect of the city’s arrival is that God is coming with it.
OUR ETERNAL HOME
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During the Millennium, Jesus will be in Jerusalem on Earth, ruling for 1,000 years; but the Father will still be in heaven. However, in the eternal state, the fullness of the triune God will dwell with people on the new earth: “The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (v. 3). God is changing His address: Heaven, God’s abode, is coming to the new earth!
The result of God’s full presence (we have never experienced it before) is found in verse 4. Gone will be the curse that has plagued the current earth since the days of Adam and Eve. This truth means there will be no more:
→ Tears. Though tears of joy may fall, no one will cry from anguish or unhappiness. The verse later says there will be no more “crying,” an expression that refers to “wailing.” So the promise is the absence of crying from grief.
→ Death. That great enemy will be vanquished and disappear forever. There will be no tombstones in the heavenly new earth.
→ Sorrow or mourning. The heartache of losing loved ones will be gone forever. Crying, sorrow, and death go together today. Joy and life go together in God’s future eternal state.
→ Pain. The word pain refers not only to physical pain but also to the distress, trouble, and affliction that come with living in a fallen world. The absence of tears, death, sorrow, and pain means God plans for all believers to live forever without the curse, “for the former things have passed away.”
What specifically will be absent in the eternal state? We can begin by saying there will be no more dentists, root canals, implants, doctors, ambulances, hospitals, medical tests, nursing homes, rehab centers, surgeries, MRIs, cancer, diabetes, asthma, broken arms, shots, or kidney failure.
There also will be no funeral homes, funerals, funeral directors, or graveyards. You won’t see broken marriages, divorce, bad relationships, teenagers who break your heart, parents who don’t understand you, road rage, vulgar language, long lines at the airport, problems with people at the office, or problems with people at church.
There will be no phone calls in the middle of the night. We will not have to endure the presence of terrorist groups, anti-Semitism, racism, missiles, bombs, F-16 jet fighters, aircraft carriers, tanks, or military submarines. War will be gone forever.
In summary, there will be no more broken hearts. These things all are true because of God’s promise, “Behold, I make all things new” (v. 5). When we look at such a list, it’s easy to rejoice and want God to hit the fast-forward button to get us there now.
God’s Free Gift
However, despite the greatness of the promise, the reality is that this destiny is not for everyone. There is no such thing as universalism whereby everyone is saved and spends forever with the Lord.
Instead, the blessings of living forever without the curse belong only to those who have trusted in Jesus the Messiah for deliverance from their sins. He died to satisfy God’s wrath on individual sin (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21) and was raised from the dead for the justification of those who believe (Rom. 4:25). Justification is God’s declaration that a sinner is now innocent in His eyes.
Salvation does not come to us because of our good deeds. As Revelation 21:6 declares, “I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.” Salvation is a free gift. Those who enjoy the “forever” blessings are those who recognize their spiritual need for deliverance (those who thirst) and have received this free gift by faith.
Faith, or belief, means trusting in Christ’s work on our behalf. Christ died in our place. As the apostle John taught, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12).
Revelation 21:7 expresses the promise a different way. Overcomers will “inherit all things” and be considered sons of God. Overcomers are those who have put their faith in Messiah Jesus (1 Jn. 5:5).
God’s extreme honesty forces us to think seriously when we read the list of various people who do not trust in the Messiah and must stand on their own before God (Rev. 20:11–15) at the final Great White Throne: “the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars” (21:8).
There is no substitute like Christ to take their place. As a result, they are separated from God in the Lake of Fire forever. They never see the eternal blessings God has prepared for those who love Him.
True believers in Messiah must approach this truth soberly and take seriously Christ’s commission to carry the gospel of eternal life to the ends of the earth, beginning with those around them day to day.
If, as believers, we fully embrace the blessed truths given us in Scripture, we can live now with the fullest confidence, rising above our current circumstances. As Bible scholar Merrill C. Tenney wrote, “In moments of disappointment and discouragement, whether they are caused by personal reverses or by the total outlook of the world conditions, this promise of God’s ultimate victory can cheer His servants, and can cause them to lift up their hearts and heads in joy.”1
I can live courageously now, knowing what lies ahead. When that future time of blessing comes, I will no doubt walk with my brother; and if we shed tears at all, they will be tears of happiness.
- Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957), 201.