What Is The Holy Spirit’s Role In Worship?
I. HEAVEN IS THE PLACE OF GOD’S SPECIAL PRESENCE. It is the beginning of our happiness to have His presence with us here, and it will be the consummation of it to be for ever with Him in the world to come. The Psalmist took this view of it, for he said, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee?” It is further called “appearing in God’s presence”; “standing before Him”; “bowing before His throne”; “abiding in His tabernacle”; “dwelling in His house for ever”; “beholding His face”; “being for ever with the Lord”; “seeing the King in His beauty”; “sitting with Christ on His throne.”
II. THE NATURE OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE IN HEAVEN. On earth the believer enjoys, in a certain sense, the presence of his God. Not only His essential presence, not only His presence in nature, where His wisdom, power, and goodness are clearly displayed; not only His presence in providence in overruling the unbridled passions of men, in improving the framework of society; not only His presence in the appointed means of grace, but a special presence; a presence which he can feel and enjoy, but which he cannot fully explain; a presence which though secret and invisible, is real, influential, and blessed. The presence referred to in the text is more than His essential presence. His essential presence is as really on earth, and in hell, as it is in heaven; for it fills heaven and earth, nor can the heaven of heavens contain it. It is also more than His special gracious presence by His Spirit, for though the saints have this on earth, they are said to be absent from the Lord. The presence of God in the text means —
1. A wonderful display of His natural and moral perfections — His wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and mercy, with all other attributes which constitute Him such a glorious being. Now in consequence of the weakness of our powers, and the obscurity of providence and other mediums through which they are contemplated, these perfections are but dimly seen and inadequately appreciated in the present state.
2. A wonderful display of His regal glory. He is to dwell among them sitting upon His throne; that is, surrounded with the ensigns of regal glory.
(1) It sets forth the absolute sovereignty of God and His dominion over all in heaven, and hence Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon His throne, high and lifted up. His sovereignty is seen there in greater perfection and grandeur than anywhere else.
(2) It sets forth His peculiar glory and majesty, which are manifested in heaven more luminously than anywhere besides.
(3) It sets forth further, that there the deepest homage and respect is paid unto Him.
III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THIS PRESENCE IS MANIFESTED.
1. Here we have His presence in creatures, providences, and ordinances; but in heaven He will be seen immediately without the intervention of means. The mind will there be perfectly free from everything which here dims and interrupts its visions of the glory of God. There is no sin there to weaken and becloud its powers, nor any temptation to draw off the affections. There the light of glory has burst in upon the soul, and the perfection of its holiness secures its devout and unceasing contemplation of spiritual realities. The body, too, will then be fashioned like unto the glorified body of Christ; and instead of hindering and beclouding the spirit as it does now, it will greatly aid the soul in her Divine contemplations. And then shadows will be exchanged for realities.
2. He that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell among them, or, as in another place, in the midst of them; so that He is equally accessible to all, and His glory, as from a centre, diffuses its splendours over the whole assembly of heaven. Here some believers live in the sunshine and some in the shade; but it is a most delightful thought that the immediate and distinct vision of God in heaven is not the special privilege of the few, but is common to all that people the realms of bliss, both angels and men.
3. The presence of God in heaven is a fixed and abiding presence, for He shall dwell among them. Not as He frequently does now, like a wayfaring man who only turns aside for the night, but He will be always in our eye, for we shall be ever with the Lord, and shall always behold the face of our Father in heaven.
IV. THE INFLUENCE OF THIS DIVINE PRESENCE UPON THE ETERNAL STATE OF THE REDEEMED. As the presence of the sun warms, enlightens, fructifies, and blesses the earth; so, only in a far higher and more important sense, does the presence of God shed the most delightful influences upon the whole region and family of heaven.
1. It will advance their moral perfection.
2. It will secure and promote their eternal happiness.. The visible and immediate presence of God will banish all that is inconsistent with the progressive happiness of the redeemed, just as the presence of the sun banishes darkness, coldness, and gloom. Then this immediate presence of God not only banishes all that is opposed to the happiness of the saints, but it is productive of positive happiness. It is the presence of His approving smile that makes heaven, for there He rejoices over His people with joy: He rests in His love, He joys over them with singing. Oh, what bliss to live in the smile of a reconciled God!