And now little children…
Once again, John refers to those he is writing to tenderly as little children, teknia, is once again the Greek word used here, meaning infants, darlings (Christian converts). John moves from speaking about those who have fallen away to those he is sure know the truth. “I write to you not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.” (1 John 2:21)
John is speaking to us as children of God, reminding us that we are children of God.
This whole section that we are studying tonight and next week also, is all about our being children of God. Once John shakes up his readers to knock anyone loose who can be shaken loose in their faith; he then gently reassures those who remain by strengthening their faith. He reaches out to them not only with reason appealing to their minds with his arguments but he also reaches out to them with much endearment and he appeals to their hearts. He also appeals to our hearts tonight as he reminds us of God’s great love for his children and calls us to abide in Jesus.
Abide in him
Last week we talked about a church split among the body of believers. People who proclaimed to be real Christians abandoned the body to follow a new teaching. Their abandonment revealed that they never belonged to the body to begin with, because genuine believers abide. They remain in the truth. They hold fast. Hold tight to what they have and to what they know. They abide. They are rooted trees, who are firmly planted and attached to the body. They are not like chaff who are easily blown away when times of trouble come. This is inherent in their new nature because it is Christ who holds them.
God calls us to hold tight to him and to his truth and doctrine as at the same time he holds tight to us. We must remember who it is who holds us and who keeps genuine believers from falling. One again, the power does not come from us but from God Himself who keeps us.
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:21
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” – Jude 1:24
What a relief it is to know that God himself keeps us! However, even though it is God, the Father who keeps us, we are still called to hold tight to Him as he holds tight to us. It is as a small child holds tight to his Father even though his father holds tight to him. The child is in no danger of falling at any time, yet his father tells him to hold on to him. So God our Father calls us to place our arms of faith around him and hold tight as he carries us through this world and safely into his kingdom.
In our study of Revelation, we studied the seven letters to the seven churches and in two of those churches, Philadelphia and Thyatira, Jesus exhorts them to “hold fast what they have”. Revelation 3:11 and “I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’” Revelation 2:24-225
This was a warning that someone was going to try and snatch their faith away. This is the same thing that we see happening in this body of believers that John is writing to and the same warning that we need to hear today. Hold tight to what you have. Remember what you heard from the beginning because Satan is trying to snatch it away from. He is trying to water it down. He is trying to convolute it. He is trying to distract you from it. He is trying to make you forget it.
This is what Satan Himself does, he snatches the word of God away from us any opportunity he has.
Matthew 13:19 – When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.
We are exhorted to hold fast to God’s word, to keep it; which takes strength to intentionally grip it and retain it because we have an enemy who wishes to snatch it away from us through distractions, business, cares and concerns of this world and forgetfulness. We must take measures to remember and retain God’s word. This is by reading and re-reading, writing things down, reviewing, praying, meditating, memorizing, applying…all of these go a long way to preventing the word of God from being snatched from us.
Christians during this time were having great difficulty telling apart the genuine Christians from the false Christians. Once again, this is why the letter of 1 John was written to teach the church how to have fellowship with God and how to discern between true believers and false believers primarily through the testing of their own faith. John urged them as believers who would walk with God in fellowship, they were to walk in the light, walk in obedience to Christ and walk in love to one another as they walked in this world.
False believers only walk with God for a time, or when it’s convenient, they do not abide. When their faith is tested, their old nature is squeezed out. They will begin to hide and walk in the dark. They will walk in disobedience to God’s laws and commands. They will react hatefully to believers, slandering them, abandoning them. In times of testing, in times of trial, in times of suffering, in times of tragedy, in times of disagreement and difference, in times of business, in times of doubt… in all of these times is when those who are not true believers fall away from the faith and prove their faith to be fraudulent, having a misleading appearance.
I’m not referring an unusual slip from a true believer who feels absolutely broken knowing that he has fallen into sin. He has no peace with God until he feels God smile upon his heart again. He is miserable in their sin. This is not his nature to sin and everyone around him is surprised by his behavior as much as he is because it’s simply not his nature to sin in this way anymore.
No, this is the person who walks continually in the dark. They have a hidden lifestyle that doesn’t sync up with the lifestyle they publically present on the outside. It seems they have two personalities. The other one that lives in opposition to God, is very much alive, well fed, provided for, tended to and growing. It’s the internal life. The personal life. The leisure life. The family life even. They have one small category, one small sliver called a church life but it is not life encompassing. It’s just a small part of their life and it is more duty then delight. Their real delight is in their own life, not Jesus’. They are very much like rubber bands. They can be stretched into another shape for a time, but eventually they are going to snap back into their original shape. They have no understanding of what it means to lay down their life permanently, to die to self, to pick up their cross and follow Jesus. These are two very different lives and they cannot coexist no more than darkness can coexist with light.
God continually tests and tries our faith daily in this world. Daily. Continually. So that it will grow. Think about it, at this time in your life, how is your faith being currently tested? How do you respond when you know it’s a test?
It’s during times of great pressure, trials and testing that we see, and the world sees what our faith is truly made of. God already knows our faith. He knows the substance of our faith in Him and the strength of our faith in him and he is continually testing it so that:
that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tested with fire) might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:7
This is what this section is about tonight. John is calling us to abide in Jesus, abide in truth, abide in the light, so that when he, Jesus, appears we may have confidence and not shrink back at his coming. Instead our faith would be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
God is testing our faith in him as he daily calls us to walk in the light, walk in the truth, walk in obedience and to walk in love. Every time we are tempted to hide something, to disbelieve a promise or deny a truth or to respond unloving to someone, we should align ourselves to walk with God by strengthening and exercising our faith in him.
so that when he appears
This is also a reminder that Jesus is returning. He is on his way. He will one day, very possibly in our lifetime, come into our sight and into our view. There are many mockers today who mock the idea of the return of Jesus just as Peter said there would be in the last days:.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3-7)
It does sound like a folk lore, but the return of Jesus is no folklore. We just celebrated Easter and the reminder of Jesus’ resurrection should also remind us of his imminent return. He is alive. He is very much present now though we cannot see him, but one day he will appear and make his presence known to not only us, but the world.
“Behold, I am coming soon!” –Rev.22:7
we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.
This is a time when there will be two reactions, great joy and great fear. For those who have long waited on him, long looked for him, long known him and interacted with him, this will be a time of great confidence, a freedom from doubt because of their great trust in him. There will be a great familiarity when they see Jesus for the first time. A great oneness will overwhelm them, along with an overpowering feeling of being fully known, fully loved and on the same side as Jesus. There will not be any fear, any shame present in their hearts but joy like the joy of one seeing their closest and most intimate friend appear. In an instant they will know him and know they are known by him, and fully loved and accepted. They will enjoy the good will between God and man.
They are like the good servants who the Master found working and watching when he returned to his house. However, there will be those wicked servants, who are unprepared for the return of Jesus Christ. For these wicked servants, worldly servants, servants of self, there will be much shame at the return of Christ. There will be many that will be trying to hide themselves, as Adam and Eve hid in the garden from God in their shame. There will be many who will call for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them to hide them from the coming of the Lord. There will be no covering, to place to run, no safe place to hide except in Jesus from the wrath of God.
That is why it is so important for us to enter into our position and into our shelter in Jesus now. It will be too late to enter this storm shelter later after the door has been shut. The door will be shut. Just as the great door of the Arc was shut tight before the wrath of God was poured out on the world in the flood of Noah. The world laughs at those of us who are preparing for a storm, like they laughed at Noah in his day. However, the bible warns us that there is a storm coming. A worldwide storm which no shelter will be able to protect anyone from the wrath of God except the shelter of being in Jesus. He is our shelter. This storm has already been spotted. The sirens have already sounded and have been sounding for over 2000 years. A place of refuge and shelter has been prepared for us but the time to enter into that shelter is now. Not later. Many would wait and stand outside until their own eyes see the appearing of Jesus and the wrath of God, and then they would seek shelter, then they will get their lives straight and join their families who have already hidden themselves in Christ, but it will be too late. The time to escape God’s wrath is now and we escape it by entering into Jesus.
Go, my people, enter your rooms
and shut the doors behind you;
hide yourselves for a little while
until his wrath has passed by.
Right now we are in an age and time period of grace. People have a warped view of this time period. They see it as a time of safety. A time to do as they please for there is no judgment, no wrath, no storm to fear. They delay as they dilly dally thinking they have plenty of time to get ready and prepare but they will see they will no time to prepare in the end. Their lives may be snatched from them suddenly. Christ may return suddenly. The burden on their heart to seek God now while he can be found will dull, their hearts will grow cold and they will grow more and more uninterested in the things of God that once called them.
Jesus has called us now. He has called us to come forth and to come and follow him today and he has enabled us to answer his call today as he holds the door open for us to enter into him. Jesus seeks to free us now from our sins. He seeks to save us now from anything that would separate us from him.
We see him at the door, at the door reaching out his hand to be our Savior, our Protector. He reaches out to us now in grace and love and calls us to come to him, run to him, take his hand and stand behind him for he is about to bring judgment on the world. We can either stand before him in judgment or we can stand behind Him under his protection from his wrath.
All we have to do is reach out to Him and ask him to be our Savior, as he stands at the entryway of our life. All we have to do is see our desperate need for him, ask him to stand before us and to save us from the consequences of our guilt before God. For now is the day of salvation, now is the time to answer his call to leave this world behind and come and follow him. Now is the time to leave the ship before it sinks; to leave the city, before it destroyed by grabbing hold of the messenger’s hand. Now is the time to call friends and family and loved ones and plead with them to leave with you, to come and stand behind Jesus with you to find grace and mercy in the time of need, in the time of God’s coming judgment on the world. Now is the time to grab a hold of his hand and to come and stand behind him under his protection, to follow His way out of this temporary life that is passing away into an eternal life that is forever in his presence, forever to be ruled by his perfect judgment and righteousness and will never be overthrown. Now is the time.
If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
The new birth is a communication of God’s nature to men. John is telling us that if we are in God’s family by the new birth, then we will see a family resemblance to one another and to God. Righteousness is not the cause of our regeneration but its consequence.
If we know that Jesus is righteous, we can be certain whoever practices, whoever exhibits the pattern of righteousness in their life, whoever rehearses righteousness has been born of Jesus. To see someone actively and consciously seek to practice righteousness in this world is not a common behavior. It’s uncommon and unusual. It’s not natural. So when you see them go the extra mile, and go out of their way to do what is right, because it is right and it would please God you can be sure this person has been born of God. You can see the family resemblance of Jesus in them.
It’s always amazing when I see my grandkids imitate their parents. Sometimes it’s conscious and sometimes it’s unconscious. They have no idea they are acting just like their father or grandpa even. They don’t always see it and they can’t help it. It’s genetic. It’s who they are. Other times they imitate them on purpose just because they idolize them. We always mimic what we admire. Kids often admire their parents and siblings. They look up to them and model their behavior after them consciously and then many times it because a habit. Spiritually it’s the same with us. We admire God, our Father, We admire Jesus and we model ourselves to walk like he walks. We want to be like him. Many times we might admire a Christian sibling and we begin to model ourselves after them as they modeled themselves after Christ. Paul use to encourage believers to imitate him.
Therefore I urge you to imitate me. – (1 Cor. 4:16)
We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. (2 Thess. 2:9)
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Heb. 13:7)
If you had younger brothers and sisters you may have once found this behavior of imitation annoying. But as Christians, it’s a huge responsibility knowing we have younger siblings who are watching us, who are imitating us as we seek to imitate Christ.
Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God. (3 John 3:11)
Children imitate their fathers and siblings.
The Greek word used for practice in this sentence is poieo (poy-eh’-o) it means make or do, to bring about or cause. It means someone who makes or does righteousness. This word poieo is often used as a suffix at the end of Latin words to show someone who makes something like:
mythopoeia – Myth maker
melopoeia – Song maker
pathopoeia – Passion maker, The arousing of emotion in music or passages.
Ethopoeia – Impersonation maker
Before we came to salvation, nothing came out of us but sin. We were sin factories. Sin makers. We invented and devised ways of doing evil.
slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;- (Romans 1:30)
who devise evil in their hearts and stir up war every day. (Psa 140:2)
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy. (Prov. 12:20)
As children of God, we are now righteousness makers. We look for opportunities to bring about God’s righteousness in all the lives around us. We bless others and do all the good we are able. We spend our time meditating on how we can devise ways to bring about God’s righteousness, to do the right thing, to outdo one another showing love, to share the gospel. Our nature has changed.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (ESV)
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: (KJV)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (NIV)
John says Behold! Pay attention! Look! See with attention. John is calling us to look at something with great attention and observation. What is it that John wants us to see?
What manner of love is this?
What kind of love is this? This is not your ordinary love that we are use to seeing in this world or used to being loved with. There is something in the love of God that makes a person ask, what kind of love is this? What planet or country are you from?
How deep the Father’s love for us.
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give his only Son
To make a wretch his treasure.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Lavished on us
I like how the NIV translates it. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us.” I love that word lavished. John is essentially saying see what great love the Father has profusely expended upon us, showered us with, squandered on us, wasted on us. He just keeps extravagantly pouring it out upon us as if it has no end. He richly and abundantly pours his love out. He does not restrain himself.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. – Psa. 23:5
To think that we are objects or recipients of God’s favor and affection. Our purpose is to declare the excellencies of God. What an amazing calling we have!
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9
Bestowed upon us
God’s love is bestowed upon us. It is given as a gift. It is granted as a title, as a right as a possession.
11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Rom. 9:15-16)
that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
John is absolutely flabbergasted at God’s love towards us. God the Judge could have just forgiven us and that was hit. He could have just rescued us and walked away, but he went beyond that and adopted us as his children AND promises us an inheritance to those who love him.
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 1 Ptr 1:4
God went even further then adoption. When a child is adopted, they usually have a different nature then their adopted parents, because they were not born naturally into the family. We too were not born naturally into God’s family, we were adopted into it. But unlike Adopted Parents God is able and does impart his nature into us through a new birth by making us born- again and giving us his spirit. Once again he goes beyond just adopting us. He gives us a new complete identity in the new birth.
Adoption reminds us that not everyone in the world is God’s children. It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables us to be God’s children.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” Gal. 3:26
God is patient towards his adopted children. He knows the past we came from.
In Chapter 19 entitled Sons of God in this same book, Knowing God, J.I. Packer talked about how difficult it is to bring an adopted child into your home and to what great lengths adoptive parents have to go in order to develop a relationship with that child. He says:
“The establishing of the child’s status as a member of the family is only the beginning. The real task remains: to establish a genuinely filial relationship between your adopted child and yourself. It is this, above all, that you want to see. Accordingly, you set yourself to win the child’s love by loving the child. You seek to excite affection by showing affection. So with God. And throughout our life in this world, and to all eternity beyond, he will constantly be showing us, in one way or another, more and more of his live, and thereby increasing our love to him continually. The prospect before the adopted children of God is an eternity of love.”
This passage brings to mind the great lengths adoptive parents must go to in order to counteract the false beliefs these broke children have who come to them. What great patience, what long suffering love, what great compassion, understanding and mercy they need in order to deal with all the mistrust these tiny eyes look up at them with. Adoptive parents, must repeatedly show these broken children what true love is, how loving and protective good authority is and should be towards them. I have heard a couple of stories where couples have had to tightly hold small children in their arms in a bear hug as the child fought against them for long periods of time every day in order to teach the neglected and abandoned child how to bond and receive love. They would rock them, sing to them, whisper and caress them until they no longer fought back against them but slowly learned to trust and respond to their love.
In the same way, many of us come to God not understanding what a loving Father looks like and come to Him with eyes looking up full of mistrust. As adopted children, we have found ourselves in His presence, unwilling and ungrateful recipients of His favor. We mistrust His authority. We initially fight against Him, against following His ways. We may hide and avoid Him thinking only of punishment and damnation not understanding He offers us life. We doubt His good intentions towards us. We test His unconditional love to see if it is genuine or not, strong or weak. We fight giving up our independence, our self-reliance to be dependent and led by Him alone. We must go through a long phase of learning how to be a child and relate to God as our Father.
I never thought about God’s love from the perspective of adoptive parents before. But as I do, I can almost feel God’s loving arms around me, understanding completely how difficult it was for me to trust Him and assuring me He is most patient and most willing to go the distance to enable me to know His love and affection and be assured of my position as His child in His home for eternity. He will never abandon or kick any of us out of His home. He will never return us to the streets or give us to another family member to deal with. Once He has us, He has us for keeps, we are His. He will pursue us to the ends of eternity to lovingly bring us back when we wander.
His grip on us may initially be one way, but how He encourages us to grip Him as He has gripped us. To lay a hold of Him as He has laid a hold of us. He invites us to abide and dwell with Him as He has abode and dwells with us. His is not just merely an invitation to see Him, to see his dwelling, visit Him and build an acquaintance with Him. No He bids us to dwell with Him and enjoy the most intimate of relationships with Him by taking the position of His child in this household and knowing Him as Father.
I would have settled to be His servant, to have a small corner in the kitchen of His dwelling to enjoy His safety, his provision, protection and bounty, the scraps of His table. I would have willingly served at His feet to dwell with Him that would have been more than enough to serve such a King as Him, but He won’t settle for such a relationship, instead He offers adoption, the right to become His child. He washes us and dresses us with robes of His own righteousness. He washes our feet. He gives us a seat at His own table, our cups run over. He gladly pours out His love upon us. He gladly serves us. We are not a burden, we are His joy. He delights in us as a father delights in watching His child.
God could have forgiven our sins through the atoning work of his Son, Jesus Christ and let us walk out of His courtroom and that would have been an offer overflowing with grace. We would have been clean and debt free before him because of the work of his Son. That would have been enough to save us from His righteous wrath and judgment. We could have lived as servants in his Kingdom. Gratefully and joyfully even. Yet, God the Father went beyond this and extended to us the unfathomable, to those who believe in his Son He gave the right to become children of God. He has held out his hand to us with the offer to become his child, dwell with him forever, know and interact with Him daily, recipients of his unending love, enjoying all the benefits his name covers us with, with a promise of a future inheritance even that we can’t fathom. This is our new position, our new favor we enjoy even now in this life, as children of God.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. . (1 John 3:1-2, Romans 8:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:11-13)
One final quote from J.I. Packer found just a short distance down from the last. He states:
There are no distinctions of affection in the divine family. We are all loved just as fully as Jesus is loved. It’s like a fairy story – the reigning monarch adopts waifs and strays to make princes of them. But, praise God, it is not a fairy story: it is a hard and solid fact, founded on the bedrock of free and sovereign grace. This, and nothing less than this, is what adoption means. No wonder John cries, “Behold, what manner of love!” When once you understand adoption your heart will cry the same.
Without Christ, we cannot relate to God as Father. Our relationship to God as Father is through Christ.
We are born not of the will of man but of God. There is still a great mystery in salvation, just as there is still a great mystery in new birth.
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” – John 1:10-13
15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. – Rom. 8:15-16
Divine adoption is by Grace alone.
Adopted parents sometimes have an opportunity to choose a child and adopt based on nation, family history, age, health or personality. Not so with God. There was nothing about you that caused him to choose you, good or bad. God choose you because he choose you.
And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. – Exodus 33:1
“Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! – Romans 9:11-14
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Eph. 2:8-10
Unless one is born again he will never see the Kingdom of God
The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. – John 1:10-11
Christ was not accepted, he was not recognized. The Jews did not acknowledge Jesus; they neither approved of him, his doctrine, nor his manner of life.
The world can’t understand us as it couldn’t understand Jesus. It doesn’t get us.
John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
We have different values, different goals, we live directly opposite theirs.
- We don’t live for self, we die to self.
- Are love isn’t controlled by how others respond to us, It’s unconditional
- We aren’t anxious.
- Circumstances don’t overcome us and control us.
- We are joyful
- We don’t live for this life.
- We give our lives away.
- We live at odds with the world.
- We should live as children of the light and as such our lives should be in direct contrast to the dark world.
2Beloved, 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.
There is still some mystery. Our future is yet unknown. All of creation waits anxiously revealed. We will always be God’s children. We just don’t know what is in store for us. That’s still an element of surprise.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. 1 Cor. 2:9-10
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. – Romans 8:19
We do know we will be like him.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit 2 Cor. 3:18
Our beholding and viewing him changes us into his image.
- We will value what he values.
- We will love what he loves.
- We will enjoy what he enjoys
- We will be imperishable, immortal.
When we see him, we shall immediately become like him We all will be changed in a twinkling of an eye.
51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. – 1 Cor. 15:51-53
20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. – Phil. 3:20-21
3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Col. 3:3-4
We become like those we admire most. Natural principle. We imitate them.
It is not a life merely to which we are called, but a walk (a “walking about,” as the Greek implies); not a sitting alone; not a private enjoying of religion, but a walk; a walk in which we are visible on all sides; a walk which fixes many eyes upon us; a walk in which we are “made a spectacle” to heaven and earth, and hell.
It is no motionless resting or retirement from our fellows, but a moving in the midst of them, a coming into constant contact with friends and foes, a going to and fro upon the high-ways and by-ways of earth. As was the master, so must the servant be. On his way to the cross, he looked round and said, “Follow me” (John 12:26); on his way to the throne, after he had passed the cross, he said the same (John 21:22). To the cross, then, and to the crown alike, we are to follow him. It is one way to both.
He that would be like Christ, moreover, must study him. (Added: Must look upon him as in 1 John 1:1, that which we have looked up, stared intently and deeply into.) We cannot make ourselves holy by merely trying to be so, any more than we can make ourselves believe and love by simple energy of endeavor. No force can effect this.
Men try to be holy, and they fail. They cannot by direct effort work themselves into holiness. They must gaze upon a holy object; and so be changed into its likeness “from glory to glory.”
They must have a holy being for their bosom friend. Companionship with Jesus, like that of John, can alone make us to resemble either the disciple or the Master. – HORATIUS BONAR
Look at the Lord Jesus firmly and fixedly, never letting your gaze wander elsewhere; and whatever temporal objects come between you and your Lod, look right through them, as through a mist, and fix your eyes and heart upon Him and Him alone. Whatever condition you find yourself in, do not let either earth or heaven hide Him. – JOHN HARRIS
3And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
It is pure hypocrisy to say that we hope to be like Jesus one day but do not seek to be like him now. That is why it is so important for us to practice righteousness now, to seek to become like Jesus now. To walk like Jesus walked now, because this is our hope, our aspiration to be like Jesus. If we do not strive to purify ourselves, our lives then this hope is not in us. Jesus is not attractive to us.