I. "BELOVED, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD."
A. Meditate on that a moment.
1. Say it, "I am a child of God."
2. Think about what you have just said, "I am a child of the awesome, eternal God who created and sustains this whole vast universe. He has adopted me as His child, giving me all of the rights and privileges of being His child."
B. Jesus, Himself sought to press home this truth.
1. In the sermon on the mount, no less than seven times Jesus spoke of God being our Father.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
C. Paul affirms this truth in his epistles.
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
D. Paul tells us that we are the children of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.
E. If verse 10, John will tell us that the proof of this relationship is in our doing righteousness.
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
II. "IT DOTH NOT YET APPEAR WHAT WE SHALL BE."
A. This is an area that God has chosen not to fully reveal to His children.
1. There are vast unimaginable glories that God has in store for us.
2. Paul who had a short excursion in heaven said that the things that he heard were so glorious that it would be a crime to try to describe them.
3. Peter said that we have been born again unto a living hope to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, that is reserved in heaven.
4. Speaking of heaven the Psalmist said,
[Oh] how great [is] thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; [which] thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
B. Note how there is not an endeavor to describe the goodness.
C. Partial descriptions are given to us.
1. No night there, for the Lamb shall be the light.
2. No tears.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it].
For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
D. Very little is mentioned about our new bodies as to appearance, or capacities.
1. It is contrasted to our present bodies.
a. This corruption must put on incorruption.
b. This mortal must put on immortality.
c. This body is as a tent, the new body is called a building of God not made with hands, eternal.
d. It will not be composed of flesh and blood, in that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.
2. There will be quite a difference, such as the seed is different from the fully developed plant.
a. In the answer to the question of our loved ones who have died, "With what body will they come."
b. Paul uses the plant analogy. When you plant a seed in the ground, you do not plant the body that shall be, all you plant is a bare grain, and God gives it a body as pleases Him. 1. We are sown in corruption raised in incorruption. 2. Sown in dishonor, raised in glory. 3. Sown in weakness, raised in power. 4. Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.
c. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.
d. Terrestrial bodies, celestial bodies.
e. As we have borne the image of the earthly so shall we bear the image of the heavenly.
3. That leads us to:
III. "WE KNOW THAT WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM FOR WE SHALL SEE HIM AS HE IS."
A. Again we are looking for the day of His appearing.
When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
B. When that glorious day comes, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.
1. As to my new body, I really have no concerns.
a. God gives us a body that pleases Him. If it pleases Him I am certain that I will be pleased.
b. If I am like Him, that is all that matters to me.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.