This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993).
God’s timing is best. In the last period of his life our father longed to depart and be with Christ. In those months he told several family members and close friends, “I have such a longing to be done with sin and to be with Christ forever.” He was weary of sin and strife within and without.
Our father was never satisfied with himself. When the family circle commemorated our parents’ fiftieth anniversary three years ago, each of the children stated to our parents what we appreciated most about them. At the end, he arose, informed us that he would never receive a diploma for having been a good father, and confessed with tears, “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” (Gen. 47:9b).
Like all of God’s people, our father had his faults and weaknesses. He was a man of like passions as we are (James 5:17). At home, he was passive and calm; in church life, he was deeply concerned and forthright in expressing his convictions. But oh, what a blessing that not one shortcoming of the saints is mentioned in Hebrews 11 where the heroes and heroines of faith are listed! Do you know why this is so? Because all their sins have been washed away by the blood of the precious Surety.
Our father would freely testify of his nearly forty years of service in the church that God could rightfully say, “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation.” But those forty years, yes, his entire life, out of free, one-sided grace may now be without spot and wrinkle due to the justifying and sanctifying power of Christ and His blood-bought righteousness.
Blessed, blessed day when mortality puts on immortality, and corruption, incorruption! Oh, to be redeemed and placed before the throne of God without fear, with Christ in the midst of the throne (Rev. 7:17)! Eternal, unfathomable, sovereign, gracious wonder! Christ covenanted for this throne; He suffered and died for this throne. He died so that the throne of justice, on the grounds of fully satisfied justice, could be a throne of grace for all His people. It is that throne, having righteousness and judgment as its habitation (Ps. 97:2), which is Jehovah’s seat of mercy, having the blood of the Mediator sprinkled upon it.
That Christ is in the midst of the throne, Ralph Erskine wrote, speaks of the dignity of His Person, the height of His exaltation, the perfection and completeness of all His mediatorial work, His accessibility on every hand to sinners, and His centrality with regard to all the glory that surrounds and encompasses the throne of God. Christ is the express image of His Father and the brightness of His glory. From between the cherubim, He shines forth as the Shepherd of Israel (Ps. 80:1). In Him, the throne of grace is a place of beauty, plenty, and triumph. There Christ shall feed His people with His eternal covenant-keeping faithfulness. He shall feed them powerfully, kindly, spiritually, and plentifully. With a soft cloth, says Rutherford, He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.