(Article for publication week of 10-1- Ad 2015)
"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" (John 14:2).
The scriptures do not give us many explicit details about what heaven is exactly like. However, it tell us enough for a believer to often long to be there! Whether there are literally mansions in heaven or not should not be our main concern. The point is that heaven is a city whose Builder and Maker is God, with true foundations, eternal in the heavens. If things like mansions, streets of gold and gates of pearl are metaphorical, then the reality is much greater, for the reality is always greater than the metaphor.
The first thing our text tells us is that Christ Himself has made all the preparations necessary for His people to live in heaven with Him. In our text our Lord was telling His disciples that He would go to prepare a place for them (and us). By this statement we may understand that Christ would go to the cross to suffer as our Sin-bearer to save us from our sins. We could never enter into heaven as the sinners that we are by nature. Our Great God is too holy to allow sin in His holy presence. Our sins must be taken away. This Christ did by His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 4:25; I Corinthians 15:3-4). Christ prepared heaven for us by shedding His blood to redeem us from all iniquity. He arose from the grave victorious over sin, hell and the grave and now sits at the right hand of His Father interceding for those for whom He died (Romans 8:34). In other words, Christ prepares a place for us by all that he does for us as our Prophet, Priest and King. Mark this down child of God, there is nothing you do to help Christ prepare heaven for you. Christ Himself has accomplished the whole work by Himself.
Secondly, the text tells us that there will be many finally saved and live in heaven. There are many mansions in heaven because there are many saved by Christ to finally dwell there. In Revelation 19:1 John saw "much people in heaven." Romans 8:29 tells us that God has predestinated His elect to be conformed to the image of Christ that He might be "the firstborn among many brethren." Our Lord proclaimed in Matthew 8:11 when He observed saving faith is a gentile that "many will come from the east and the west, and shall sit down in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." Hebrews 9:28 says that "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." When Christ gave His disciples the cup of wine at the first communion service in Matthew 26:28 he said that cup of wine represented His blood "which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Christ died for a number that no man can number out of all the nations of the earth. This is a glorious truth that we may contemplate with joy- that there will be many finally saved and live in the Father's house. Every one for whom Christ died shall be in heaven without the loss of one. Everyone that the Father gave to His Son in the covenant of grace shall be in heaven. Everyone that is called effectually by the Holy Spirit shall live in heaven. Everyone who trusts in Christ Alone for salvation shall be in heaven.
But finally, let us take note of the fact that heaven is called the "Father's house." This tells us that heaven is the real home of the children of God. As the poet has written, "heaven is my Fatherland, heaven is my home." God's people are pilgrims and strangers in this low ground of sin and sorrow. This world is not our home. What a glorious day it will be when we arrive in our true and lasting home, the Father's house.