No Tears – No Exceptions
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” -- Revelation 21:4
Every saved sinner has learned by the effectual teaching of God the Holy Spirit what Jonah learned in the whale’s belly. Every sinner who has experienced God’s omnipotent, saving operations of grace gladly confesses with Jonah, “Salvation is of the Lord!” For believing men and women, that blessed fact of grace, that universal declaration of Holy Scripture cannot be stated too fully, too frequently, or too emphatically.
Salvation is, in its entirety, the work of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ. That is the foundation upon which we build all our doctrine. That is the hermeneutic principle upon which we interpret Scripture, because it is the hermeneutic principle laid down in Scripture.
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No part of salvation can be, in any measure, attributed to the will, worth, or works of man. The language of Inspiration could not be more emphatically clear in this regard (2 Tim. 1:9-10; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 11:6).
Be sure you understand this: -- Salvation involves all that is required to bring a sinner from the ruins of the fall into the glory of heaven. There is no aspect of salvation, no part of the package, neither on this side of eternity nor on the other, which depends upon or is in any way, or to any degree, determined by man.
God’s election of some to salvation is the election of grace. Divine predestination is “to the praise of the glory of his grace.” Our redemption by the precious blood of Christ, that redemption which purchased and secured for us the forgiveness of all sin forever, was effectually accomplished for us “according to the riches of his grace.” We are “justified freely by his grace.” We were born again by the power of God’s grace. Our faith in Christ is the gift and operation of the grace of God. We are sanctified by that same free grace. If we persevere unto the end, it will be by that grace of God, which keeps us in grace and faith, being sealed by his Holy Spirit, “unto the redemption of the purchased possession,” that is to say, “until the day of our resurrection.” When, at last, we stand before our God and Savior in heaven, we shall possess all the glory of our heavenly inheritance forever, as “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ,” by free grace alone.
When our great God and Savior says, “Time shall be no more,” when he makes all things new, when he presents us before the presence of the glory of God, holy, unblamable, and unreprovable, without any trace of sin upon us, when he, when he who made all things for himself brings forth the Headstone and puts it in the place of everlasting pre-eminence and glory before heaven, earth and hell, we will shout with Zerubbabel, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts…crying, Grace, grace unto it!”
Because this great and glorious thing we call salvation is all of grace, from start to finish, we are assured that it shall be equally, fully, and perfectly possessed by all who are the heirs of it. So thorough, so complete, so full is God’s salvation that when it is finished, there will be absolutely no regrets, no sorrows, and no tears in eternity for God’s elect. Difficult as that may be for us to grasp, it is plainly revealed in Holy Scripture.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev. 21:4). Isaiah tells us the same thing. "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 25:8).
Notice the very slight, but very significant difference in the way the two texts (speaking of the same promise) are worded. Isaiah tells us that God will wipe away “tears from off all faces.” He promises us that God will wipe tears from the faces of all who possess eternal life with Christ in everlasting glory. But in Revelation 21:4, the apostle John tells us that, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” By divine inspiration, he gives an added touch of grace. He tells us that our God is not only going to wipe tears from the eyes of all his people, but also that “God shall wipe away ALL TEARS from their eyes!”
Put the two texts together and you have the glorious promise of God in the gospel to every believing sinner. It is just this: -- when our great and glorious God is finished with all things, he will have so thoroughly and completely saved all his people from all sin and from all the evil consequences of sin forever that there will never be a tear in our eyes again!
Who can grasp the fulness of this promise? It is too great, too broad, too incomprehensible for our mortal brains. Yet, it is gloriously true! Our great God shall, in heaven’s glory, remove us from all sin, remove all sin from us, and remove us from all the evil consequences of sin. He will remove us from every cause of grief. He will bring us at last into the perfection of complete salvation and every desire of our hearts will be completely gratified. God’s salvation is so perfect and complete that when he is finished, we will not even have the slightest tinge of sorrow for anything.
Revelation 21:4 clearly implies that there is much weeping in the way to heaven, and there is. Faith in Christ brings deliverance from all curse and condemnation, but not from pain and sorrow. There are many things which believers suffer in this world along with other men. Because the world is a world of sin, it is a world of sorrow. Believers suffer physical pain and sickness, domestic trouble and heartache, financial losses, bereavements and many, many other things, just like all other men and women in this world.
There are many things that bring tears to our eyes about which the world knows nothing. The world knows nothing of the warfare that rages in our souls between the flesh and the spirit. The world knows nothing of our struggles with and weeping over inward sin, unbelief, hardness of heart toward God, and overmuch love of the world and of self. The world knows nothing of our nights of weeping and days filled with sorrow because of our lack of consecration to our God, our lack of devotion to our Savior, and our lack of submission to the direction of the blessed Holy Spirit.
There are even some precious tears, which we shed here that will be dried on the other side of Jordan. Here we shed many tears of repentance, many tears of sympathy, many tears of concern for the souls of men and the glory of God, any many tears of longing for the manifest presence of Christ. But all these tears, too, shall be dried forever, once we have been delivered from this world of sin and sorrow.
Do not misunderstand my meaning. Even now, our heavenly Father does much to dry our tears. The believer’s life is not a morbid, sorrow-filled existence. Not at all! We do have our sorrows. Yet, even in the midst of sorrow our Lord gives us great comfort (Isa. 43:1-6).
"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth."
Even here, our heavenly Father gives us a measure of resignation to his will. He teaches us to trust his providence. He reminds us of his gracious purpose (Rom. 8:28-21). He causes us to remember his promises. He blesses us with the sense of his presence. He floods our hearts with the knowledge of his love (Eph. 3:19). He reminds us that the cause of our pain is his own loving hand (Heb. 12:5-12). And he comforts us by fixing our hearts on better things above (Col. 3:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:15-18).
Yet, in heaven’s glory our God will wipe all tears from our eyes. Impossible as it is for us to imagine, there is a time coming when we shall weep no more, when we shall have no cause to weep! Heaven is a place of sure, eternal, ever-increasing bliss; and the cause of that bliss is our God! Heaven is a place of joy without sorrow, laughter without weeping, pleasantness without pain! In heaven there are no regrets, no remorseful tears, no second thoughts, no lost causes, no sorrows of any kind!
If God did not wipe away all tears from our eyes, there would be much weeping in heaven. We would surely weep much over our past sins, unconverted loved ones forever lost in hell, wasted opportunities while we were upon the earth, our many acts of unkindness toward our brethren here, and the terrible price of our redemption! But God will wipe away all tears from our eyes – all of them! In heaven’s glory there will be no more death to part loving hearts. There will be no more sorrow of any kind. There will be no more crying for any reason. There will be no more pain of any sort. Why? How can these things be? -- “The former things are passed away!”
Our great God shall, in heaven’s glory, remove us from all sin, remove all sin from us, and remove us from all the evil consequences of sin. He will remove us from every cause of grief. He will bring us at last into the perfection of complete salvation and every desire of our hearts will be completely gratified. Then we will be like Christ. We will be with Christ. We will see Christ. We will love Christ perfectly. We will serve Christ unceasingly. We will worship Christ without sin. We will rest in Christ completely. We will enjoy Christ fully. We will have Christ entirely. These things shall be our everlasting experience, without interruption!