“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (I John 3:1-3)
Along with the blessings of Jesus Christ delivering believers from the penalty and the power of sin, is also the blessing that Jesus Christ delivers believers eventually from the very presence of sin.
Today’s text begins with John setting a tone of wonder and awe that the church bask in the blessing of God’s love for sinners. That sinners in Christ, such as himself, are called the children of God is astonishing to the apostle and should also be to us. Being a child of God is not something yet future for the believer in Christ. It is a present reality and state of one’s being accomplished by God’s grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
John continues to say that the reason the fallen world does not understand our love for God is because it does not understand God’s love for the world. The Apostle Paul expressed the same thoughts in I Corinthians 2:14 which says, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
Finally, John states that as believers in Christ are presently God’s children, we still have not become everything God has in mind. He will still deliver us from the very presence of sin. I John 3:2 says, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
Often people primarily focus on the physical changes that will occur when a believer in Christ is glorified. Our bodies which are perishable, dishonorable because of sin, weak and natural will be changed. Paul expressed this in I Corinthians 15:42-44 which says, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
However, while not ignoring the significance of the believers’ bodily transformation, the Apostle John also has the Christian’s spiritual transformation in mind. The believer in Christ will be like Christ in holiness, righteousness and glory. The believer in Christ will no longer sin in thought, word or in behavior. Hallelujah!
With this mind, believers in Christ strive to be pure at the present time in order to increasingly mirror what they will be for all time. This striving for holiness (I Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:44) is not pursued in order to obtain salvation, but rather out of gratitude for our salvation.
Take several moments throughout your day today to praise God and to pledge to Him your desire to be holy as He is holy. One of these days, when either He comes again or calls you home, you will be completely holy as He is. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!