“Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn’t know us, because it didn’t know him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is. Everyone who has this hope set on him purifies himself, even as he is pure.”
1 John 3:2-3
We have in these verses some great encouragement to be the holy people of God. We are called the friends and children of the living God. What a privilege these things alone have afforded to us. God has brought us into His family and had given us the status of being daughters and sons of the royal family of heaven. We actually belong to God and are under His express care and protection. We are sisters and brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ and are joint heirs with Him of His eternal glory. This is a deep mystery, how sinful fallen people can attain such high rank position in the everlasting kingdom. It is beyond any privilege we could ever imagine – it is the highest of privileges.
We are brought into that divine family through the adoption process. We have been expressly chosen in Christ and adopted into the family of God, through His mercy and grace alone. We have no value to be there, and absolutely no right, but are brought in through his will and purposes, which we do not understand. Our desire for holiness comes from God and all our righteousness is from Christ. We are everlasting dyvors of that rich mercy and grace that has come to us, through no goodness of our own.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might display the surpassing riches of His grace, demonstrated by His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
We are told here that what we will be has not yet been made known, yet we are told some things, many things about what is coming for us. It is inconceivable to us, the full extent of our spiritual blessings in the coming kingdom, and we would not appreciate them now anyway. Even the things we know about, we forget so easily and quickly, and we become bogged down in the negativity, or even the positivity of life. Even now with the revelation we have in the Word of God, we find it difficult to take it in and make the reality if it a part of our thinking processes.
It will all change when our Saviour comes again to take us home to heaven. We will be changed and made to be like Him who we love. We will see Jesus, face to face and the reality of His character will become clear to us. Our spiritual nature will fully take hold and holiness will then be our full portion. We will gladly embrace the Lord and all our foolish qualms about being perfect will disappear. We will fit into the culture of heaven perfectly and perfectly see our Saviour and Lord as He really is.
“We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding, that we know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
1 John 5:20
But we have Christ in the revealed Word. As we read and meditate and study the Word of God, we see Christ in His glory. There are visions of Him revealed to us in the Scripture that take our breath away. There are truths about Him that dazzle our understanding and show us His beauty and humility. We are so not like Him. We see someone we can only worship and adore, someone who makes us feel ashamed of ourselves and our sin and yet lifts us up in faith and forgiveness. We see again, our deep privileges in Christ. We have understanding, given to us by the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of Christ as we walk with Him every day.
If we are to be like our Lord and Saviour, surely we can see Him in the Word already and see the view of what we have in store. But we do not always view Him in all His glory and often see Him as some sort of special man, not as the Lord of all things that exist. Our fallen human eyes need to be opened to see Him increasingly near and dear to us. As we walk our road to heaven, we should see Jesus in a clearer light, as we walk with Him and are taught by the Holy Spirit, as we study the Word. We gain insight as we walk the pathway to heaven and purify ourselves from the sin that besets us.
It is too easy to study the Scripture in a worldly academic way, and never really see the Lord Jesus at all. It is too easy to teach Scripture and yet never really show Christ in His glory. Our view of Him is always dimmed by our own spiritual lethargy and slowness to grasp the deep things of God. The way Jesus spoke to people shows us what He is like and what we should be like. We observe how Jesus is with people, His attitudes and behaviour and this is the pattern for our lives too. We should want to be like Him, but we are afraid, because we won’t fit into the social settings we might find ourselves in.
So we conform to our Saviour a little, but we are always held back by our own sinfulness and cowardice. But one day that will change, for there will be a new culture that will rule in righteousness and joy. When we are finally changed to be the way we are supposed to be, we will fit into that culture. We will have the character of Christ in every part of our being and sin will finally be conquered.
Until then, we read and see our Saviour in the Scripture and we ask Him to reveal Himself to us more fully, so that we can follow Him more closely and have His character as part of our character. We conform ourselves to Him and love Him more and more. This is how we grow as Christian people and as sisters and brothers of Christ. This life is our preparation ground for that great and glorious kingdom that is coming when this fallen world is over.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be sober and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ— as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16
This is our great hope and the motivation to purify our lives continually and draw near our Saviour in love and devotion, serving Him with full hearts in whatever He has called us to do. We are not yet pure, but one day we will be, and in the time we have in this world, we walk worthy of this great calling in Christ our Lord and God.
“If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.”
1 Peter 1:17-21