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We Shall Be Like Him

We Shall Be Like Him

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


"Now are we the sons of God, and it dotli not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him." — 1st Ep. of John, iii. 2.
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


"Now are we the sons of God, and it dotli not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him." — 1st Ep. of John, iii. 2.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 19, 2013
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WE SHALL BE LIKE HIMBY REV. . P. KAPP"ow are we the sons of God, and it dotli not yet appear what we shallbe : but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him." — 1st Ep. of John, iii. 2.How much cheering tiiith is contained in these words ! Enough,it might be supposed, to satisfy those who could appropriate tothemselves the privileges implied by the relation here set forth.Sons of Grod ! His own children by adoption ! a relation full of present privileges and high hopes of endless happiness in a futureworld ! St. John contemplates it with rapturous admiration of the love of God. "Behold," says he in the verse which precedesour text, "what manner of love the Father hath bestowed uponus, that we should be called the sons of God!" How indeed canit be described or estimated! Whether we consider the majestyand justice of the Almighty, or the guilt and unworthiness of hisrebellious creatures; whether we view the blessings conferred, orthe method of conferring them, the love manifested in their re-demption and adoption truly passeth knowledge. The eternalWord was made flesh for man's salvation. And He who for thesake of his adopted children has given his only begotten Son,"will also freely give them all things." The world may hateand despise the faithful folloAvers of the Lord, as they hated anddespised him. But they can comfort themselves with the assu-rance, that they are "the sons of God," and heirs, according to thepromise of eternal life. V/hat will be the specific nature of thatlife — what, or how glorious, will be the state of the redeemed inheaven, it is not given them to know. The apostle himself couldnot form an adequate conception of the joys of eternity; andconfessed that " it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know,that when he shall appear, we shall be like him;" like him in our60 SERMO VI.
 
bodies, glorified and incorruptible, and in our souls pure and bolj,as he is holy. We shall behold the glory of God in the personof Christ, the eternal Son of the Father.There is a natural solicitude in the mind of man to know thecondition — the particular circumstances of this future state of existence. And there is just enough revealed in the Scripturesto keep it constantly excited, in those who are ever more anxiousto increase their knowledge, than careful to make good use of what they know. [But we all seek this knowledge of the future,with more or less eagerness, believers and unbelievers. Theywho reject Christianity, and are unenlightened by divine revela-tion, when they contemplate the dissolution of the body, say, inthe language of Job, "Man giveth up the ghost, and where ishe? " with little or no expectation of his future existence. Butthey who profess to believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, makethe same inquiry, with reference to the scene of his future life,and add the curious question, "In what body does he appear?"and what is the exact constitution of his renewed being?]It might be a sufScicLt answer to such an inquiry, that wecould not understand in our present imperfect state, any commu-nications of the knowledge which is reserved for the state of fullfruition in the world to come. "We now see through a glassdarkly." Our capacities are adapted to our condition of being.And the limited range of our minds while connected with ourcorruptible bodies, is a good reason why so little is revealed tous of that which is not essential to salvation, and which would,perhaps, if revealed, unfit us for the duties of the present life.Enough has been revealed, if we will rightly improve it.St. John says, "We know that when he," that is Christ, "shallappear, we shall be like him." And St. Paul gives a more par-ticular information, assuring us that "we shall be made like untohis glorious body." Our souls will again inhabit a body; such isour assurance, and such is our profession of faith. "We believein the resurrection of the body." "There is a spiritual body,"so say the Scriptures — like unto Christ's, — incorruptible and fullof glory. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
 
Therefore we must be greatly changed : and we shall be. Christshall change our vile body, and make it like unto his own glori-ous body.SERMO VI. 61What that glory i?, we cannot now rightly understand. How-ever we may be changed, we may be sure that we shall be thesame; — w^e shall never lose our personal identity, or the con-sciousness of it. Hence it can only be a matter of mere curiositywhat sort of bodies we shall inhabit. It should satisfy the Chris-tian, that he will bear the image of his Lord, and have the fullfruition of his presence and glory. And we may be sure thatwe shall awake, after death, to the knowledge of eternal things,with a perfect recollection of our condition of life here on earth.Memory will never lose its power over the soul ; but when itis freed from the many clogs with which it is now encumbered ;when it is delivered from the burden of the flesh, it will assertits power mightily, as a scourge and a curse ; or as a comfort anda blessing. And when we consider how active the faculties of themind may become, when no longer limited by their connexionwith the present body, we can hardly estimate the suffering orthe delight which this faculty may cause in another life. Theremembrance of abused privileges, and despised offers of grace,will come, with scorpion sting, to goad the wretched victims of sin in their place of darkness.And, on the other hand, busy memory will summon up theprecious fruits of faith, the spiritual joys of the believer on earth,to be compared by him with the higher and enduring bliss, (al-ready partially experienced,) "of the sons of God," in the pre-sence of their approving Saviour.If, therefore, my hearers, you are not yet entitled to the ap-pellation which St. John claims for himself and his brethren,"strive diligently to lay hold on that hope which is an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast;" — the hope of eternal blessedness

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