Are you familiar with the name of John Charles Ryle? Ryle was born in Macclesfield in May 1816, educated at Eton and Oxford, and after serving parishes in Helmingham and Stradbroke he became the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool in 1880.
JC Ryle was a man of staunch conservative evangelical convictions whose influence continues to be felt among many Christians today through his writings.
His Expository Thoughts on the Gospels and his volume entitled Holiness are spiritual masterpieces. As well as books, JC Ryle also published hundreds of tracts and pamphlets. One of them has the interesting title 'Shall We Know One Another In Heaven?'. This is a question which people often wrestle with. When I get to heaven, will I recognise my friends and family who have gone before me?
Ryle is confident that we will know each other in the glory of heaven.
He wrote: "The saints in heaven will know one another. They shall have the same body and the same character that they had on earth - a body perfected and transformed like Christ's in his transfiguration, but still the same body - a character perfected and purified from all sin, but still the same character. But in the moment that we who are saved shall meet our several friends in heaven, we shall at once know them, and they will at once know us."
In many ways, these are very comforting words. But is he right? We're dependent on what the Bible has to say about these things, as was JC Ryle, but where in Scripture are we taught that we will know one another in heaven? To be honest, it's not an issue that the Bible often addresses, but if you study Luke 9:30 and 1 Corinthians 15: 42-44 you will see that the Scriptures are supportive of Ryle's conviction that there will be recognition in heaven.
All of this is very encouraging but let's be careful in asking the question: 'Shall we know one another in heaven?' that we don't miss out on asking the bigger and more important question: 'Will I be in heaven?' Let's make sure, above all else, that we are trusting in Jesus Christ as our saviour so that when we die we will be welcomed into the glory of heaven and ultimately, at Christ's return, we will receive that glorious body which he will give to his people.