June 13, 2020

Heavenly Hope and Earthly Suffering

Life—so the saying goes—is full of disappointments.

And yet, as Tom Robson points out in the opening of his recent book Breathtaking Glory, if you trust in Jesus, you are heading towards a destination that the Bible promises can never disappoint.

“You are destined for glory,” he writes. “Destined for the glory of God, in whose presence will be greater joy than any of us can imagine.”

The premise of the book rests on the fact that if this is true, then it ought to impact our lives in a profound way in the here and now. It’s not that Robson ignores the various trials and troubles of life in this world. Rather, he proposes that in those moments of despondency, the hope of what’s to come can actually be the fuel that energises our faith.

“When we fix our eyes on God’s glory,” Robson writes in summary, “we not only look forward to being with Him forever but we also know a foretaste of that joy now.”

Take in the View

If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you probably stopped at points to catch your breath and take in the view. Once you’ve enjoyed those early sights, they’ll inspire you to push on to the top.

Well, Robson suggests that in life, it’s often good to do the same—to pause and remind yourself where you’re heading. For all those who trust in Jesus, that destination will be to see and share in His unending glory. And it is Scripture that provides us with an early glimpse of what His glory is like.

Consider this book, then, a metaphorical mountain climb—an invitation to pause and glimpse God’s glory. It’s a chance to marvel at His grace, faithfulness, and victory. These key themes underpin the theological context of Breathtaking Glory and are a useful route into the four main biblical expositions: God’s response to Adam and Eve, God’s covenantal promise to Abraham, God’s protection of Elisha, and John’s vision of heaven.

At these moments, Robson argues, the believer is offered glimpses of God’s glory. And as we take in the view—to extend the analogy once more—it inspires and refreshes our walk with Him.

Bible Overview

One of the main strengths of the book is that it provides an accessible overview of God’s grace, faithfulness, and victory throughout the Bible. The exposition of 2 Kings 6 in chapter four is particularly helpful, revealing the enduring biblical theme of God’s faithfulness. Robson exhorts us to trust Him whose timing is perfect, whose victory is certain, and whose ways are often unseen to the human eye.

The same could be said for each of the other three expository chapters on Genesis 3, Genesis 15, and Revelation 5, as well as the introduction, which offers a swift and readable study of ‘glory’ throughout Scripture.

The mountain climbing analogy is re-visited at the end of each chapter with a reflective section titled “Take In The View” where Robson summarises the main points of the chapter and provides an application. This is the type of structural model that makes Breathtaking Glory the kind of book that’s ideal for personal devotion or a reading group.

Great Joy

This book is written for a broad-sweep of Christian—whether fearful of the future, idolising the here and now, or burdened by worry—this is a helpful and encouraging corrective.

Sure, it’s a slim read at just over sixty pages, but that doesn’t deny its weight and importance. In fact, I would wager that time spent with this book for only a short while will do your heart more good than hours spent toiling over certain theological tomes. And with that comes one of the book’s unique strengths—it has great value and appeal for both the young and mature believer alike.

What will be the great joy of heaven? Nothing less than being with God Himself. This book is an invitation to pause and stand in awe of a Saviour whose glory we will enjoy forever.

Buy at 10ofthose.com (U.K.)

Buy at 10ofthose.com (U.S.)

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