Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mansions in the Father’s House (John 14:2, 23)

14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)
14:2 evn th/ oivki,a tou/ patro,j mou monai. pollai, eivsin\ eiv de. mh,( ei=pon a'n u`mi/n o[ti poreu,omai e`toima,sai to,pon u`mi/nÈ

The AV says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions …” As child growing up, I assumed that mansions meant what I thought a mansion was: a palatial house with crystal chandeliers, grand staircases, and more rooms than you knew what to do with. Then I studied NT Greek and found out that the word translated mansions means “a dwelling place.” It does not denote or even connote the fabulous sort of residence I envisioned. That was a bit disappointing, initially.

I was also inclined to wonder why the AV chose mansion since it doesn’t mean mansion. In the process of studying NT Greek, I also began to learn something about the history of English. Words change their meanings over time! The word mansion used to be used for “Any structure or building serving as a place in which to live or lodge, as a house, a tent, etc.” (Oxford English Dictionary). In fact, in William Tyndale’s NT, he translates 2 Cor. 5:1-2 “…oure erthy mancion wherin we now dwell … Desyringe to be clothed with oure mansion which is from heven …” (yes, that is how they spelled in the 1500s!).

And that brings me to this week. I started memorizing the Upper Room discourse of Jesus (John 14-17), and noticed something I had written in the margin of my Bible. The word monh, moné occurs in John 14:23 “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode [monh,n] with him.”


We are the moné of the Father and the Son! There are many dwelling places in Heaven, but God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (cf. Eph. 2:20-22), has chosen to make us His dwelling place. What an incredible privilege … what an incredible responsibility. We must maintain God’s dwelling place in a way fit for Him—with purity in every area. Holiness is not the condition God imposes upon our living from His throne in Heaven. Holiness is the necessary condition for God’s triune presence to take up and maintain residence in us.

Father,
Empower me by the Spirit, today, to love you fervently and obediently, so that my life may be wholly lived unto You and thereby be holy in all that I do, say, and think.
For Christ's sake,
Amen.

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