". . . In My Father's House . . ."

Foy W. Vinson
Elgin, Illinois

"Let not your heart be troubled: Ye believe in God, believe also in, me. IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, unto myself; that where I am ye may be also." (John 14:1-3).

The above words, consolatory and hope-inspiring, fell from the Savior's lips as his departure from this earth became imminent. These words were directed specifically to the eleven (Judas having already departed), and their design is revealed in the words: "Let not your heart be troubled." Jesus had just told them that he must leave, and that at the present time they would not be able to follow him. However, in the above language, he points to a time when it will be possible for them to follow him and abide in his presence; hence he endeavors to take their thoughts from present difficulties and to elevate and extend their sight to that great and glorious day when he shall return and gather all the redeemed to those mansions in the "Father's house."

The Significance of This Promise

Perhaps one of the most forceful means of impressing all with the significance of these words and of the promise they contain is to suppose that Christianity affords no such hope. What would Christianity mean to you if there were no "Father's house"? What interest would you have in spiritual matters if Christ were not coming again to receive the faithful "unto himself"? What importance would you attach to the gospel if there were no resurrection, no life after death? Paul comments in this connection as follows: "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." (I Cor. 15:19). Certainly Christianity would be but an empty shell if it did not contain the "one hope" revealed in our text.

To further illustrate the insipidity of the gospel without the hope of heaven, turn again through this issue and notice the various subjects discussed. If there were no eternity, of what profit would these themes be? The inspiration of the Scriptures, the proper application of the two covenants, the authority of Christ, the gospel, the plan of salvation and the church would all pale into insignificance without the fond assurance of a "city which hath foundations." Why even the concluding article on the second coming of Christ would be meaningless under such circumstances.

The fact of eternity is not only essential to Christianity, but it is related to it as cause is to effect. God created man and gave him an eternal soul. When man sinned it was impossible for his punishment to be limited to time because of the eternal nature of his soul. Hence man faced eternal condemnation! God in his infinite mercy and goodness and according to his foreknowledge proffered unto man the grand scheme of redemption through Jesus Christ in order that man might escape the eternal consequences of his sin. The Son of God shed his atoning blood on Calvary and as high priest entered heaven to offer it that he might thereby "prepare a place" for his disciples. Thus we see that the very purpose or end of our faith is to furnish us with an escape f rom a devil's hell and to minister unto us an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (I Pet. 1:9).

The Promise Is Conditional

When Jesus spoke the words of John 14 he directed them to his disciples. The New Testament is replete with passages which teach that the promise of everlasting association with the Lord is conditional. The universalist, who believes that all men will be saved unconditionally, ignores such teaching, but this as well as all truth abides nonetheless. In Hebrews 5:8,9 we read: "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." There is nothing imperceptible about this statement. Who shall be eternally saved? The Scriptures answer: "Those that obey him." Paul in addressing children of God exhorts them to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil. 2:12). Jesus told his disciples early in his ministry that "he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matt. 10:22). Many years subsequent Christ, who had since ascended to the Father and had sat down at His own right hand, admonished the church in Smyrna to "be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10). The great apostle to the Gentiles spoke of the crown of righteousness which was laid up for him and attributed this to the fact that he had "fought a good fight, had finished his course and had kept the faith." Passages upon passages could be multiplied to show the emphasis the New Testament places upon the conditionality of both salvation from past sins and eternal salvation, but these should suffice. In short, one must first become a Christian and then he must live in humble submission to the Lord all of his life in order to go to the "Father's house" when the Lord returns.

A Final Word

In view of the significance of the promise about which we have been speaking, and in the light of the fact that such is conditional, it would be most unwise to close this study without directing a special word to you who are not Christians. Friend, do you not desire to dwell in the mansions in the Father's house? Either the Father's house or the Devil's house will be your eternal home! Surely you desire the former. Won't you then become a Christian now? And to you who are Christians, remember that you have many conditions to meet also. Perhaps you have become indolent in the "good fight of faith" and have failed to add to your faith. Perhaps you have lost sight of the "mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Perhaps you are spiritually asleep. If so, then may I close with this final admonition to you: "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Rom. 13:11,12).

Truth Magazine I:12, pp. 18-19
September 1957