…In eternity, I’d like to meet, and be with, everyone who is, or has been, dear to me.
The trouble is, the Bible says:
What about those who, as far as we know, have “not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”, in whom we do not know of “the grace of our Lord Jesus”?
- Whoever believes in him [God’s one and only Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18 NIV)
- …We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved… (Acts 15:11 NIV)
I have found Alfred Edersheim’s words helpful here:
…Of this we are well assured, that the Judge of all the Earth will judge, not only righteously, but mercifully. He alone knows all the secrets of heart and life, and He alone can apportion to each his due meed. And in this assured conviction may the mind trustfully rest as regards those who have been dear to us.Edersheim, then, encourages us to have the widest hopes for our dear ones who have departed.
…The Words of our Lord, as recorded in the Gospels, convey the impression, that there is an eternity of punishment… But of these things does he [i.e. the writer, Alfred Edersheim] feel fully assured: that we may absolutely trust in the loving-kindness of our God; that the work of Christ is for all and of infinite value, and that its outcome must correspond to its character; and, lastly, for practical purposes, that in regard to those who have departed (whether or not we know of grace in them) our views and our hopes should be the widest (consistent with Scripture teaching), and that as regards ourselves, personally and individually, our views as to the need of absolute and immediate faith in Christ as the Saviour, of holiness of life, and of service of the Lord Jesus, should be the closest and most rigidly fixed.
Alfred Edersheim (1825–1889)
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,
Appendix XIX: “The Question of Eternal Punishment”
But how much better it is when we do “know of grace” in them! The prospect of meeting them again goes beyond “widest hopes” into full assurance.
On Sunday evening, 1st August 1965, my Dad, Charles Cooper, “believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” by making a decision to accept Jesus Christ as his own Saviour; and to the day of his death, on Monday 18th October 2004, he lived in “the grace of our Lord Jesus”. So he is one of those, about whom I have full assurance — assuming that I myself continue in grace!
Dear reader: I leave you with two points to ponder—