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In My Father's House
by David A. DePra
Let not your heart be troubled: you 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, and receive you unto
myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you
know, and the way you know. Thomas said unto Him, "Lord, we
don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man
comes to the Father, but my Me. If you had known Me, you should
have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and
have seen Him. (John 14:1-7)
This saying of Jesus, which occurred at the last supper, is given
the night before His death. Jesus knew that as a man, this would be
the last time He would eat with His disciples. He also knew that
everything they had hoped for in the way of an immediate, physical
kingdom, would soon be dashed to pieces. His words to them are
therefore to comfort them ahead of time, but also to promise them
Jesus says, "In My Father's house, etc." Here we must begin.
What exactly is Jesus referring to? Heaven? Or is there more?
There is much more. In fact, the term, "my father's house" is one
with which someone of that time would be familiar. It referred to the
family of one's father, but also to the wealth and inheritance. To live
IN your "father's house" meant to be under his authority and to be in
line with his inheritance. To live OUT of your father's house meant
to be on your own.
Under Old Covenant law, inheritance was regulated in detail.
Normally, the bulk of inheritance passed to the eldest son of the
father. But there was also much responsibility, as the eldest was
expected to be the head of the tribe or family within the tribe. And
it was possible that this eldest son could "forsake" his father's
house, and thus forfeit both his rights and responsibilities.
When Jesus says, "In My Father's house," He is therefore
referring to a relationship we have as sons and daughters of God.
If we are born of God, we are IN our Heavenly Father's house. This
not only means that in this life, we are living under the protection,
provision, and guidance of our Father, but we are likewise
promised an eternal inheritance. And just as important is the fact
that living in the Father's house carries with it responsibilities.
A New Heredity
As mentioned, in Biblical terms, in order to receive an inheritance,
you had to be born in the right family. Your heredity determined
everything. So it is with the human race. Our heredity is going to
determine our eternal inheritance.
The Bible says, "In Adam all die. In Christ all are made alive."
(I Cor. 15:22) There are only those two options -- those two
heredities. You and I are born IN ADAM through natural birth. But
we can be born again IN CHRIST through the new birth. In short,
we can change our heredity, and thus, change our inheritance.
Adam lost ALL that God had gave him. This included dominion
over the earth, and all that was on it. But more than that, Adam lost
his relationship with God. Of course, this was by choice. Adam
made the choice to reject God and declare his independence. And
that is exactly what he got: Independence from God. Willful
separation from God. And what is "separation from God?" It is
Through Christ, we are born again with a new heredity. A new
creation in Christ Jesus is not the same creature, only with "the
death penalty removed." No. We are a creature who, in Christ,
has passed through death and are imparted with His victory over
it. Paul says, "If any man be in Christ, He is a new creation. Behold,
old things are passed away. All things are become new." (II Cor.
Because we are born again of a new creation, we have a new
heredity, and thus, are entitled, by grace, to a new inheritance. We
are going to receive everything which God originally designed for
human beings to have -- which Adam lost. And as mentioned, chief
among this inheritance is God Himself.
Scripture often refers to what God has for us in Jesus Christ as
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and
he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which
according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a
lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you. (I Peter 1:3-4)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who has delivered
us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the
kingdom of His dear Son. (Col. 1:12-13)
What is this inheritance? Everything God has to give. And the
best part of it is God Himself. God intends to restore humankind
back to the relationship we once possessed -- but lost through
the sin of Adam. THAT is our inheritance: Oneness with God
through Jesus Christ. We are going to live with God forever.
Of course, we cannot do that NOW. But we can get a start on it.
In fact, God tells us that if we are converted to Christ, that He has
given us a sort of "down payment" on our inheritance. This is the
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being
predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all
things after the counsel of his own will, that we should be to the
praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom you also
trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with
that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise
of His glory. (Eph. 1:11-14)
Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us
is God, who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit
in our hearts. (II Cor. 1:21-22)
Note: The Holy Spirit doesn't give us the "down payment," or
the "earnest." The Holy Spirit IS the down payment. The Holy
Spirit in us is a foretaste or down payment of the fullness that we will
have throughout the eternal ages.
The implications of this are incredible. If the Holy Spirit is God,
and He IS the down payment of our inheritance, then what do we
suppose is THE inheritance -- in it's fullness. God. Wrap your mind
around that one.
In this age, we can only contain and experience so much of God.
If we are in Christ, we ARE new creations. But that new creation
continues to be inside of a body which is subject to corruption. This
body, with all of it's components, cannot manage the full release of
what God has for us. Thus, we have the down payment. But there
awaits us a full, incorruptible inheritance.
In our Father's house, there is a full inheritance for all who live
there. In this age, the Holy Spirit is a promise of that. Indeed, the
Holy Spirit is preparing us for that -- preparing us to live with God
forever. THIS is the purpose of God for us -- to be prepared to live
in our Father's house forever.
There are Many Mansions
The word "mansions" is not a good translation for our modern
English. The word means "abode" or "dwelling place." Jesus is
saying that in the Father's house has room for MANY. He wants to
assure us that God has not excluded anyone from the possibility
of being in His house.
The apostle Paul tells us that God "desires all men to be saved,
and to come to the knowledge of the Truth." (I Tim. 2:4) The
constant theme is that God wants to save everyone -- no matter
who they are.
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is
Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any
seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things. And has
of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the
earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the
bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply
they might feel after him, and find Him, though He be not far from
any one of us: For in him we live and move and have our being.
As certain also of your own poets have said, "For we are His
offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we
ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or
stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of ignorance
God winked at, but now commands all men every where to repent,
because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world
in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he
hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from
the dead. (Acts 17:24-31)
Jesus Christ died for ALL people. He bore ALL sin in His Body.
Indeed, John announced, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the WORLD." The Redemption of Jesus Christ was
never intended to be anything less than universal. The fact that
there are some who will refuse Christ and never be redeemed does
not change the fact of God's intention. Indeed, it is the fullness of
God's intention, and the free gift of grace refused, that will condemn
I AM the Way
We must skip a few verses and cut to the heart of the matter at
this point. Jesus said, "In My Father's house there are many
dwelling places. I go to prepare a place for you." And then He
tells us, "And where I am going, you know. In fact, the WAY you
Jesus is telling us that we already know where His Father's
house is, that how to get there. He says, "The way you know." But
Thomas didn't understand. Can you blame him? The disciples
could not have possibly grasp the fact that Jesus was talking about
anything spiritual. They thought He was talking about a physical
location. So Thomas asked, "We don't know where you are going,
and so how can we know the way?"
Jesus answers, "I AM THE WAY, and the Truth, and the Life. No
one comes to the Father except by Me."
Let's pin that down, so that there can be no misunderstanding.
What did Jesus mean when He said, "I am the Way?" He explained.
He said, "No one comes to the Father except by Me." In other
words, Jesus was saying, "I AM THE ONLY WAY."
So here we have a tremendous claim of Jesus Christ. He is
telling us that if you want to dwell in the Father's house, indeed, if
you want to come to the Father, you have to come BY HIM. In fact,
He says that He is the ONLY way to the Father.
The reason Jesus is the ONLY Way to the Father, is that He is
the only begotten Son. He alone is God become man. He alone
bore the sin of the world. He alone rose again to newness of life.
You can argue all you want, but if Jesus did all of this, He IS the
only way to God; the only way to be saved.
In this day and age of liberal religion, we are more and more
hearing of supposed Christian leaders who are denying that Jesus
is God, and that He is the only way to the Father. Under the guise of
love and open-mindedness, they state, "We cannot limit God to one
way." That's very generous. But the problem is, there IS only one
Way. And nothing you say, and nothing you do, is going to change
The fact is, God is not limited because there is one Way. Indeed,
this is because that one Way is unlimited. God desires all men to
be saved and to come into the knowledge of the Truth. And He
invites all to receive Jesus Christ. Thus, God's ONE WAY is not a
way intended to keep people out. It is a Way that invites people in,
and which gives them eternal life.
People who insist that there are many ways to God are not being
honest with themselves, and quite frankly, usually do so because
they have somewhere rejected the Truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is
the only way to the Father because He alone is God become man,
and He alone bore the sin of the world, and was raised from the
dead. Thus, in order to say that there are many ways to God you
must refuse the Truth that Jesus is God, and you must deny the
need for a Savior who bore our sin, and you must deny the need for
a new birth.
The problem with denying those Truths is that if you deny them
you cannot be a Christian. Really? Why? Because embracing
them is the WAY you became a Christian. Thus, denial of them
means you never embraced them. You can't have. At best, the
Truth was a learned doctrine to you.
In order to become a Christian, to be converted to Christ, you and
I must pass through a threshold of revelation -- we must see who
Jesus Christ is. This can happen in a day, or it can take us years to
pass through that threshold. But it is God who must reveal to us the
identity of His Son. He will show us that Jesus is God, that Jesus is
the only Way to Himself, and that Jesus is our personal Savior. In
the light of Jesus, we will see we are sinners in need of Him. At that
point we will either embrace Christ by faith, or reject Him.
If we embrace Christ by faith, as we pass through this threshold of
revelation, we then enter into a new realm. We are born again. We
have, as it were, passed through the ONLY "threshold" or "doorway"
of revelation which leads into our Heavenly Father's house. There
is simply no other way in except Jesus Christ.
Now note: Having entered the Father's house through the only
Way, how can we then deny Jesus is the only Way? We can't. For
again, we cannot deny Jesus and be a Christian if the way we
became a Christian was to embrace Him.
Jesus Christ as the ONLY WAY to God -- as the Way, and the
Truth, and the Life -- is not merely a doctrine of Christianity. It is
Christianity itself. The Person of Jesus Christ is the very foundation
of Christianity. Jesus is God, Jesus is the only Way, and Jesus is
our Savior -- these are the essentials upon which all else is built.
Sadly, many who deny these things do not even understand
them. But ignorance as an excuse wears thin. That's because
behind the motive of saying there are MANY ways to God, they
really want THEIR WAY to God. They want to be free to decide
for themselves how to come to God. They want to create God in
their own image.
The reality is, if there were ten ways to God, then we would say
there are twenty. And if there were twenty, we would say there are
thirty. Why? Because if we did not find OUR WAY on the list of
many ways, we'd just insist the list has to be bigger. In short, man
wants to be able to take HIS WAY to God.
God has made things very easy for us. He simply tells us that
it is ALL or NOTHING. The claims of Jesus Christ about Himself
do not give us the freedom to put Him on a list of many possible
ways to God. He said, "I am THE Way." Thus, we either believe
Him, or we don't. It really IS all or nothing.
People need to come to terms with the claims of Jesus Christ.
Either He was telling the Truth, was a liar, or was crazy. The last
two options mean He cannot be on a list of "ways" to God -- for God
would hardly give us a liar or lunatic to lead us to Himself. The
claim of Jesus that He was the only way to God is either fully true, or
not. Again -- all or nothing.
Jesus is the Door. He is the Way. You don't even get into God's
house except through Him. Thus, if you deny Him, you cannot be
in God's house. For there is no other way in.
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and
shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not, but to
steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:7-10)
The apostle John did not mince words when he wrote about
coming to God through Jesus Christ:
Whoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ,
has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both
the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not
this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God
speed: For he that bids him god speed is partaker of his evil
deeds. (II John 1:9-11)
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but
because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar
but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that
denies the Father and the Son. Whosoever denies the Son, the
same hath not the Father. But he that acknowledges the Son has
the Father also. (I John 2:21-23)
John is telling us that we must ABIDE in the Truth of Christ. In
other words, LIVE in it. Of course, this is what happens if we enter
into the Father's house through Christ. We live, and move, and
have our being in Him.
So Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY to God. But God desires that
ALL be saved and come into the knowledge of the Truth. God
offers THE WAY free of charge, solely by His grace.
This was the continual message of the New Testament church:
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God
raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before
you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation
in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given
among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
Again -- we must come to terms with the claims of Jesus Christ.
He would say to us: Who do you say that I am? (see Matt. 16)
To Prepare a Place
When Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you," He was
obviously talking about preparing a place for us "in His Father's
house." But what does this mean? And how will Jesus prepare
this "place" for us?
The key is found in the following: "I go to prepare a place for
you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and
receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
Here we see described the intention of Jesus preparing us to
live with Him, in His Father's house, forever. We see Him saying
that He goes to prepare a place for us, and then coming back to
take us to Himself -- that we might be where He is.
But it is here that we are apt to jump to the conclusion that Jesus
is talking merely about the Second Coming. He is not. He is talking
about the Holy Spirit. We can know this because later in the same
narrative from John 14, Jesus goes on to tell them:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth, who the
world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.
But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will
not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and
the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall
live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in
in me, and I in you. (John 14:16-20)
Jesus uses the presence of the Holy Spirit interchangeably with
His own presence, and that of the Father's. And why not? They are
ONE God. So Jesus is saying, "If I go to prepare a place for you,
I will come in the Holy Spirit. I will take you to myself, and it will be
as if you are where I am."
This is, of course, all for NOW, in this life. Jesus is saying that
we can live in His Father's house NOW. We can be in Him, and Him
in us, NOW. The Holy Spirit is a down payment on this -- a promise
of an infinitely greater fullness which we will experience in the eternal
But what about the PLACE? What is that? It is our dwelling place
in our Father's house. We get there by THE WAY, Jesus Christ.
We enter by grace, through faith. It is a FREE-WAY.
But what does Jesus mean when He speaks of "preparing."
Well, first of all, through His finished victory, Jesus entered into
the presence of God as our forerunner. He "paved" the way. He
became THE WAY. So because He was the first, He prepared the
way for us -- prepared us a place in His Father's house.
Picture someone forging their way through darkness so that they
can come back and lead us through. Or someone who goes into
a land and conquers an enemy so that we might come in and live.
This is how Jesus prepared the way for us. He paid the full price
so that we could enter in free of charge.
But there is more. For it is one thing to have a place ready for
us. It is another to prepare US for the place. Jesus is preparing us
to live with God forever. That is, in fact, the purpose of the Holy
Spirit in us NOW.
The Bible says that Jesus must reign -- in heaven -- until He puts
all of His enemies under His feet. (I Cor. 15:25) In other words,
Jesus has won victory over all the enemies of God -- the last of them
being death itself. But just as a conquered land must be invaded
and brought into subjection, step by step, so is Jesus bringing into
subjection all that He has won. He is doing this in this age, by the
The greatest work of the Holy Spirit is to bring you and I into
subjection. The Spirit does this by conforming us to the image of
To Live With God
You may indeed be saved. You may have surrendered every
part of yourself to Christ. But is every part of you working in total
harmony with Him? Not hardly. You would have to be perfect for
that to happen. But the Holy Spirit is seeking to bring us into
adjustment and harmony with God. Why? Because we are going
to live with Him forever.
Do you actually think that if you are not living with God in harmony
NOW, that you are going to be able to do it THEN? I'm not talking
about all of the faults we have of the flesh and the like. I'm talking
about our WILLS and our FAITH. Our hearts. This is where the
Holy Spirit wants to work.
Jesus has not only prepared a place for us through His finished
work, but He is likewise preparing US for that place. This is what He
has been doing for the last two-thousand of our years. He is making
for Himself a Body -- a bride.
It is not without significance that the word for "earnest" -- which we
saw is used of the Holy Spirit being a "down payment," is still used
today in modern Greek. Do you know what it means? It is the term
used for an ENGAGEMENT RING. Yep. We are engaged to
Jesus Christ. Getting ready to spend our eternal lives with Him. We
are going to live in His Father's house. The question is: How ready
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