How does God prepare us–who are in Christ–for heaven, for the presence of his glory? Largely through beholding Christ now, by faith, and affliction.
More than a decade ago I read The Glory of Christ, by John Owen. It is a little book, densely packed with great Biblical truth–and a significant part of this book explains this verse: “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV)” Here are a few quotes from it:
By beholding the glory of Christ we shall be made fit and ready for heaven. Not all who desire to go to heaven are fit and ready for it. Some are not only unworthy of it and excluded from it because of sin; they are not prepared for it. Should they be admitted, they would never enjoy it. All of us naturally regard ourselves as fit for eternal glory. But few of us have any idea of how unfit we really are, because we have no experience of that glory of Christ which is in heaven… A fish would not thank you for taking it out of the sea and putting it on dry land under the blazing sun! Neither would an unregenerate sinner welcome the thought of living for ever in the blazing glory of Christ. … Knowing this should stir us up to our duty, for all our present glory lies in preparing for future glory (pp.7-8).
Faith will fix our souls in Christ who will fill us with delight and satisfaction. This, in heaven, is perfect blessedness, for it is caused by the eternal vision of the glory of God in Christ. So the more spiritual and the more heavenly will be the state of our souls.
The reason why spiritual life in our souls decays and withers is because we fill our minds full of other things, and these things weaken the power of grace. But when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and his glory, these things will be expelled.
When we behold the glory of Christ by faith every grace in us will be stirred up. This is how our spiritual life is revived (p.167).