The catechism answer tells us two things about the glorious future that the gospel assures us is coming.
First, we are going to enjoy God forever. Because God is triune within himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been glorifying each other, delighting in each other, adoring each other, loving each other. Therefore, God within himself has infinite joy. And we were created to share in that joy. We were created to glorify him and to participate in that glory and joy. But none of us, even the strongest Christians today, have ever experienced what that joy is—perfect, cosmic, infinite, endlessly growing—because all of us worship and adore other things. Someday we will be freed from sin, and then we will know and experience that glory and joy. We will enjoy him forever.
Second, we will enjoy him forever in the new city, in the New Jerusalem, in the new heavens and new earth. We will experience this cosmic joy not in a purely immaterial condition. But, rather, we will be in a restored material creation. We will have resurrection bodies like Jesus’s body—physical bodies. And what that means is, as Christianity envisions, the body and the soul, the physical and the spiritual, are together in perfect harmony forever. No other religion envisions that. We will not float about as disembodied spirits, but we will dance. We will march. We will hug. We will be embraced. We will eat, and we will drink in the kingdom of God. It means all of our deepest longings will be fulfilled. All of our greatest sorrows will be swallowed up.
What could be better than that? And that’s what we’re in for. Nothing less.
J. C. Ryle
Let us settle it then in our minds, for one thing, that the future happiness of those who are saved is eternal. However little we may understand it, it is something which will have no end: it will never cease, never grow old, never decay, never die. At God’s “right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Once landed in paradise, the saints of God shall go out no more. The inheritance is “incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away.” They shall “receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. 1:4; 5:4). Their warfare is accomplished; their fight is over; their work is done. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more. They are travelling on towards an “eternal weight of glory,” towards a home which shall never be broken up, a meeting without a parting, a family gathering without a separation, a day without night. Faith shall be swallowed up in sight, and hope in certainty. They shall see as they have been seen, and know as they have been known, and “be for ever with the Lord.” I do not wonder that the apostle Paul adds, “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:17–18).