Welcome to our final session of discussion on the topic ‘God’s Family.’ I will now go on to the last thing that I want us to consider. What are the future prospects of the whole family in heaven and earth? We are living in the most interesting times with many things happening at home and around the world. Whilst, the scientific world is finding another planet for human habitation, I am looking forward to the glorious home prepared for believers by Christ (John 14:1-3).
The future prospects of a family! What a vast amount of uncertainty these words open up when we look at any family we now see in the world! How little we can tell of the things coming upon any of us! What a mercy it is that we do not know the sorrows and trials and separations that our beloved children may have to experience, after we have left the world! It is a mercy that we do not know ‘what a day may bring forth’, and a far greater mercy that we do not know what may happen in the next twenty years (Proverbs 27:1). Sadly, foreknowledge of the future prospects of our household would spoil many family gathering, and fill the whole party with gloom!
Think how many a fine boy, who is now the delight of his parents will in time follow the path of a reckless son, and never return home! Think how many a fair daughter, the joy of a mother’s heart, will in a few years follow her own stubborn will, and insist on some miserably mistaken marriage! Think how disease and pain will often lay low the lovelists of a family circle, and make her life a burden and wearisome to herself, if not to others! Think of the endless disagreements and divisions that will arise out of money matters! Yes, there is many a lifelong quarrel over a small sum of money, between those who once played joyfully together in the same nursery! Think of these things. The future prospect of many families that meets together around the dinner table, every Sunday and Saturday are a solemn and serious subject. Hundreds, to say the least, are gathering together for the last time: when they part they will never meet again.
But, thank God, there is one great family whose ‘prospects’ are very different. It is the family of which I am speaking about it here, and commending your attention. The future prospects of the family of God are not uncertain. They are good, and only good; happy and only happy. Listen to me, and I will try to set them in order before you.
The members of God’s family will all be brought safely home one day. Here on earth they may be scattered, tried, tossed with storms of life, and bowed down with afflictions. But not one of them will perish (John 10:28). The weakest lamb will not be left to perish in the wilderness; the feeblest child will not be missing when the roll call is announced on the last day. In spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil, the whole family will get home. ‘For even when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life’ (Romans 5:10).
The members of God’s family will one day all have glorious bodies. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes the second time, the dead saints will all be raised and the living will all be changed. They will no longer have a vile mortal body, full of weaknesses and infirmities; they will have body like that of their risen Lord, without the slightest vulnerability to sickness and pain. They will no longer be clogged and hindered by an aching frame, when they want to serve God. They will be able to serve him night and day without any weariness, and to attend to him without any distraction. The former things will have passed away. The word will be fulfilled, ‘I make all things new’ (Revelation 21:5).
One day, the members of God’s family will all be gathered into one company. It does not matter where they have lived or where they have died. They may have been separated from one another both by time and space. One may have lived in tents, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and another travelled by the modern transportation of our day. One may have his bones laid to rest in an Australian desert, and another may have been buried in the deserts of the Middle East or at the church backyard. It makes no difference. All will be gathered together from north and south, and east and west, and meet in one happy assembly, never to part again. The earthly partings of God’s family are only for a few days. Their meeting is for eternity. Little does it matter where we live. It is a time of scattering now, not of gathering. Little does it matter where we die. All graves are equally near to paradise. But it does matter whether we belong to God’s family. If we do, we are sure to meet again in the end.
One day the members of God’s family will all be united in mind and judgment. They are so divided now about many little things. About the things necessary for salvation there is a marvellous unity among them. About many speculative points in religion, about forms of worship and church government, they often sadly disagree. But one day there will be no disagreement among them at all. Ephraim will no longer disturb Judah, nor Judah Ephraim. Partial knowledge and dim vision will be ended for ever. Divisions and separations, misunderstandings and misinterpretations, will all be buried and forgotten. Since there will be one language, so there also will be only one opinion. At last, after thousands of years of strife and clashing, perfect unity and harmony will be found. A family will finally be shown to angels and men in which all are of one mind.
One day the members of God’s family will all be perfected in holiness. They are not now literally perfect, although they ‘are complete in Him’ (Colossians 2:10). Though they are born again, and renewed after the image of Christ, they stumble and fall short in many things (James 3:2). No one knows it better than they do themselves. It is their grief and sorrow that they do not love God more heartily and serve him more faithfully. But one day they will be completely free of all corruption. They will rise again at Christ’s Second Coming without any of the disorders and sicknesses that now cleave to them in their lives. Not a single evil tempter or corrupt inclination will be found in them. They will presented by their Lord and Husband to the Father without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, perfectly holy and without blemish, fair as the moon, and clear as the sun (Ephesians 5:27; Song of Solomon 6:10).
Grace, even now, is a beautiful thing, when it lives, and shines, and flourishes in the midst of imperfection. But how much more beautiful will grace appear when it seen pure, unmixed, unmingled and alone! And it will be seen so when Christ comes to be glorified in his saints at the last day.
These prospects of God’s family are great realities. They are not vague shadowy talk of man’s invention. They are real and true, and will be seen as such before long. They deserve your serious consideration. Examine them.
By Rev. Eric D. Maefonea