Sermon Message: Alive with Jesus
Sermon Message: Putting Off the Old
Sermon Message: When You Hear God's Call
Sermon Message: Working for the Lord
Sermon Message: Fellowship in the Light
Sermon Message: O Worship the King
"Holy Like Him"
1 John 2:28-3:3
(Delivered Sunday, February 17, 2002 at Bethany Bible Church. All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.)
Last spring, I had the privilege of attending a conference in Denver, Colorado. I had arranged to stay with some friends in the Denver area; and I had made the request that, following the conference, I be excused to go wandering around the Colorado Springs area for a day or so - just to unwind and enjoy a little solitude, so that I could process the things I learned at the conference. They did even better than excuse me for a day, however. They graciously put me up for an overnight stay in their A-frame cabin near the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. (That was way better than what I had in mind! I was planning to just sit in a McDonald's somewhere.)
The cabin is very small; but it's tucked away in the hills that cradle a beautiful mountain lake, surrounded by rolling, amber fields. It's a remarkably quiet and peaceful place - a place which I had visited before and enjoyed very much. My favorite spot at this lakeside scene is a little mound that faces the lake in a westerly direction. I enjoy standing on this mound and just looking at the mountains as they're reflected on the calm waters of the lake.
On this particular evening last spring, I had just finished some dinner and decided to go out for a walk. And, of course, I went out to my favorite spot. The sun was just setting, and it reflected brightly over the whole surface of the lake. I stood on the hill, closed my eyes, and basked in the warm, bright sunshine for a long time.
There was not a sound to be heard. In fact, I can remember few times when I've been outdoors and experienced such quiet. And as I stood on the little mound with my eyes closed, warmed by the sun's brightness and enveloped by the beauty and quiet, a though came to my mind that turned quickly into a prayer: "Lord, I wonder - will this be what it's like when I finally see Jesus?" I tried to imagine what it will be like when I stand before His heavenly throne - silent in worship along with the throngs of heaven, warmed by the brightness of His glory, basking in His eternal love. I imagined what it will be like to worship Him without any of the limitations and liabilities I suffer under now, or without any of the weaknesses or failings or sins that so often hinder my worship of Him today. I tried to imagine what it will be like to worship Jesus in absolute purity and holiness and reverent silence. And I'm not sure how long I stood there imagining that scene; but I didn't want to stop, because it was making me home-sick for heaven.
Eventually, though, I opened my eyes and found - a little to my disappointment - that I was still standing before an earthly lake, on an earthly mound of dirt that was covered with earthly weeds and bugs. Opening my eyes made me aware of myself too - that I'm still weak and fallible, and so very far away from that future state of glory. I'm not in glory yet; but that little bit of time spent before the lake certainly whetted my appetite for heavenly glory. I prayed the whole walk back up the hill to the cabin, thanking God for the experience, telling Him how much I love Him, and how I long for the day when I'll be able to behold Jesus in all His majesty. And I felt very much loved by my heavenly Father - and felt as if He looked forward to that day too.
I believe - and I say this cautiously - that God sometimes speaks to us through experiences like that. I don't ever take my stand on such experiences; rather I take my stand on the sure promises of God that are contained in the Bible. However, I believe God gives us experiences like the one I had at the lake, to help remind us of His promises, and to cause those promises to come alive to our senses. At such times, it almost seems as if God was speaking to us in a brand-new way; when in reality, what He's doing is bringing us to a fresh recollection and awareness of what He has already promised in His word.
I say that because of something else that happened to me later that evening, after I had gone to sleep in the cabin. It was about 1:30 in the morning; and I found that I had suddenly awakened. It seemed as if I went from a complete sleep to complete alertness in a second's time; and I felt strongly as if the Lord had awakened me, and that I should go outside and look at something He wanted to show me. I slipped on my shoes and my jacket and walked down the pathway to the dirt road a little ways down the hill from the cabin. It was very dark; and I was very concerned that I might not be the only one of God's creatures roaming around in the night. But when I got out to this dirt road, I looked up to the clear evening sky; and I saw that it was almost lit up with a million bright stars. I had never in my life seen so many brilliant and beautiful stars with as much clarity. To this day, I'm convinced that they have far more stars in Colorado than we have here in Oregon. I stood for a while in the cold evening air, staring up at the starlit sky until my neck hurt. Finally, I went back to the cabin and crawled into bed - a little bit chilly, but in awe of the beauty of God's creation; praising Him for how beautiful He Himself is, and thanking Him for allowing me to see what He has made.
I laid curled up in bed and thought about what it says in Isaiah 40:26 about the stars; "Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing." And then, in the quietness of that moment, I felt as if the Holy Spirit spoke to me - not so much in words, as I said before, but as if He were bringing to my mind what He has already said in a new and fresh way. I felt as if the heavenly Father was reminding me that, even though He made all those stars to display His glory, He doesn't intend to keep them forever; but that He does intend to keep me for Himself forever - along with all His redeemed people who have trusted in His Son Jesus. I felt as if He was reminding me that He hasn't adopted those stars, and doesn't refer to any of them as His "children"; but that He has adopted me in Christ, and does call me His "child". I felt as if He was reminding me that, even though all those stars are inexpressibly glorious in their beauty, He has destined me for an even greater and far more eternal glory in Jesus. And then, I felt as if He was reminding me that I'm not there yet - but that I will be there soon. He's going to see to that.
I will never forget that experience at the cabin in Colorado. And now that some time has passed and I'm able to analyze it objectively, may I share with you what I think that experience did for me? In a word, it has made me "dissatisfied" - dissatisfied with myself. That experience has increased my own sense of frustration over where I am in my life, and has heightened my desire for more personal holiness before God. It has made me want very much to grow in the sort of moral purity that God desires for me, and to see God purge more and more sin out of my life. It has made me long to live more like the child of God that He says I am right now, and to become more conformed in holiness to the glory that He promises He will bring about in me one day soon. It has reminded me that I am going to see Jesus in all His majesty one day in the future; and it has made me hungry to reflect more of Jesus' majesty in my life right now.
I thought very much about that time at the cabin as I studied this morning's passage. John speaks of that same longing for more holiness when he writes,
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1 John 2:28-3:3).
Dear brother or sister in Christ; if I could, I would take you with me out to Colorado to spend some time with me at that lake-side cabin. I'd love to invite you to stand with me on that little mound during the bright sunset, close your eyes, and think with me about the heavenly glory of Jesus for a while. I'd love for you to wake up in the middle of the night and join me outside to look up at the stars, and be reminded that God has destined us for an even greater glory than these in Christ. Perhaps it would make you long for more holiness in your life, just as it made me long for more holiness in my own. I wish I could take you on such a field-trip; but I'm afraid I can't.
But I have something even better than such an experience to share with you this morning - something even more solid and sure. I have the promises of God, contained in His Scriptures, to pass on to you. I invite you to look with me at what God Himself has told us, through His servant John, about the glory that will be ours when Jesus finally comes for us. And I pray that as we look together, the Holy Spirit will inspire you to a greater longing for the holiness now, that God promises will be fully realized in us in heavenly glory then.
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John wrote this letter for us so that we could enjoy the full blessings of fellowship with God. He has written about three tests that help us to know whether or not we truly are in fellowship with God through faith. The first test, as we have seen, is the test of "obedience": Do you obey Jesus' commandments, and live a holy life that's in keeping with His word? He tells us about this test in 2:3-6. The second test is the test of "love": Do you love those whom Jesus loves - your brothers and sisters in Christ? This test is found in 2:7-11. The third test is the test of "belief": Do you cling faithfully all that God, through the apostles and in the Scriptures, has taught us to believe about Jesus? This test is found in 2:18-27.
These three tests are revisited by John three times throughout his little letter - giving us a little different perspective on those three tests each time. This morning's passage begins the second cycle of those three tests - beginning with a second look at the test of obedience. (Really his second look at the test of obedience extends from 2:28 to 3:10; but we're looking at just the first half of this section this morning - particularly as it relates to God's call for holiness on the part of those who belong to Him.)
First, let's notice ...
I. THE CALL TO LIVE HOLY LIVES (2:28).
John writes about the Lord Jesus and says, "And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
That phrase "abide in Him" is a wonderful one. Jesus used it first as a way to describe how essential it is that we remain in a consistently dependent relationship with Him. He taught the disciples,
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love (John 15:4-10).
And so, John isn't teaching us anything new. He's simply teaching us what Jesus already taught us - that the Christian life is a matter of God bringing us into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ as an act of His grace through faith; and that our part in that relationship is to faithfully "abide" or "remain" in a condition of ongoing fellowship with and dependence upon Jesus.
"Abiding" in Jesus is an important theme in John's little letter. But it's not a subjective thing. John objectively defines what it means to "abide" in Jesus by expressing it in terms of the three tests of true fellowship with Jesus. For example, John expresses it in terms of the test of "love" when he says, "He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him" (2:10). He also wrote, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in Him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him" (3:16-19). "No one", John says, "has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us" (4:12). He also said, "God is love, and He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (v. 16).
John also expresses what it means to "abide in Christ" in terms of the test of "belief". He said, "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father" (2:22-24). He said, "By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (4:13-15).
And, as you might expect, John also defines what it means to "abide in Christ" in terms of the test of "obedience". "He who says he abides in Him," John says, "ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (2:6). He wrote, "Whoever abides in Him does not sin [that is, as a characteristic pattern of life]. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him" (3:6). He says, "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him" (3:24).
John's exhortation to abide in Christ is an exhortation to something absolutely essential. It is, in fact, the essence of the Christian life. Many people believe that they can be brought into a saving relationship with God through a simple prayer of faith in Jesus Christ, and yet not be obligated to actively "abide" in a dependent relationship with Him. They believe that they can simply pray a prayer; and take it for granted that they have a saving relationship with God. But John's whole letter is showing us that the test of a saving relationship with God isn't just whether or not we prayed a prayer in the past, but whether or not we follow that initial prayer up by "abiding" in Christ as an ongoing pattern of life in the present.
Do you abide in Jesus in these ways? Do you abide in Him by seeking to love your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you abide in Him by clinging faithfully to the truths the Bible teaches about Him? Do you abide in Him by growing increasingly to keep His commandments, and to walk faithfully according to His pattern of holiness? That's the real question by which we test our fellowship with God. John is writing here to "little children" - specifically meaning, "little ones who have been born into the family". Are you one of God's "little children" by faith in Christ? If you are, then John is urging you to give the evidence of it by making sure that you "abide in Him."
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John's specific concern in calling his readers to "abide in Christ" in our passage this morning is that they walk in holiness. And he then says that we're to abide in Him in such a way, "that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." The word he uses for "confidence" is one that literally means "to have freedom or boldness of speech". It's a metaphor for being completely assured in our standing before God of His full acceptance and approval of our conduct. By contrast, he says that we should abide in Jesus in holiness so that we may "not be ashamed" before Him, or feel that we must "shrink back" in shame. In both cases, John's appeal is so that we might stand in confidence before Christ and not shrink back before Him "when He appears", or "at His coming".
Jesus once told a parable to illustrate this. He said,
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:45-51).
The Bible tells us that many will shrink back from Jesus at His appearing. Many kings and mighty men of this world will hide in the caves; and will cry out to the rocks and mountains, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? (Rev. 6:15-17). The Bible also promises that each one of us "must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10). What will you do on that day? Will you stand in confidence, or will you shrink back in shame?
The foundation of our faith must be laid on Jesus Christ alone; but Paul warns us to take careful heed how we build on that foundation. Our confidence before God when Christ comes back is based on how we've built on the foundation. He wrote,
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:12-15).
John is writing to us, then, and urging us to abide in Christ - particularly in terms of personal holiness and obedience to Christ's commands - so that we wont have cause to shrink back in shame when He comes for us, but will be confident when He appears for us.
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And I can't help but point out a very tiny, but very important feature of John's exhortation in this verse. He doesn't say to abide, "so that you may have confidence", but rather so that "we may have confidence" at Jesus' coming. John doesn't put himself above his readers, but includes himself in the prospect of either their confidence or their shame.
The old preacher, Harry Ironside, told a story about how, after speaking before a congregation from this passage, and after dismissing the crowd, he saw a young woman push her way hurriedly across from one side of the sanctuary to the other. She threw herself weeping into the arms of a Christian woman who had been her Sunday School teacher, and begged her forgiveness. The former Sunday School teacher said, "But you don't need to ask my forgiveness for anything. If you've sinned, you can go to the Lord and ask His forgiveness."
The young woman said, "Oh, but as my Sunday School teacher, you led me to Christ and tried to encourage me to go on faithfully with the Lord. And for a while I did; but I wandered away and disregarded the things you taught me. I've lived a sinful life since then; and it never dawned on me until now how ashamed you would be of me at the judgement-seat of Christ. Please forgive me." They prayed together; and this young woman renewed her commitment to Jesus.
Paul once wrote to the Thessalonian believer's of how he hoped to rejoice over their approval before God. He said, "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy" (1 Thess. 2:19-20). This has made me think back on those who invested in my life, and sought to raise me up to love and serve Jesus. Is my life going to be a 'crown of rejoicing' to them?
How about you? Who led you to Jesus? Was it a friend? A Sunday School teacher? A pastor? A relative? Did someone pray fervently and faithfully for your salvation? Did someone invest their time and energy to set you on the right track with Jesus? What has the result been? Will you be a cause of joy for those who faithfully led you to Christ and taught you to walk with Him? Will they have reason to celebrate because you faithfully abided in Jesus? Will you be their "crown of rejoicing" on that day?
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God's call to us, who are His children by faith, is that we abide in Christ. And abiding in Him means that we live in consistency with His commandments, and seek to be holy as He is holy. But what's so wonderful is that God doesn't seek to motivate us to live holy lives through threats of losses and punishments. Instead, He inspires us with higher things. And so, John next speaks of ...
II. THE MOTIVATIONS FOR LIVING HOLY LIVES (2:29-3:3).
The first motivation for living holy lives is to be found in our identity in Christ. Look at how John develops this thought. He writes; "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" (v. 29).
God, by His very nature, is righteous. Earlier, John wrote, "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (1:5). John suggests that you and I "know" this - and the word he uses means "to know this perfectly" or "completely". In other words, John assumes that we possess this in our minds as a settled matter of truth.
But John then goes on to use a different Greek word for "to know" in the next half of the verse, and says that, if you know that God is righteous, then "you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him". This second word refers to a sort of knowledge that is acquired over time - a knowledge that comes as an increasing awareness. Eugene Peterson, in The Message, has paraphrased this verse in a way that reflects this distinction very well: "Once you're convinced that he is right and righteous, you'll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God's true children."
If God is righteous, then those who are born of Him share in His righteousness. Our knowledge that God is righteous leads to the logical conclusion that all who are truly righteous are also His children. Children reflect the traits of their father. Righteousness is the characteristic of a child of the righteous God. John writes elsewhere, "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous" (3:7). He says, "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God ..." (3:10).
The fact that God's children are characterized by righteousness leads us to the next piece of wonderful news that John gives us - that we, by faith, are God's children. He says, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (3:1). Some very reliable Greek texts add this affirming note: "And that is what we are!" (as it's translated in the NIV). We don't have to work hard toward earning the honorable title "children of God". We possess the title "the children of God" right now!! - along with the characteristic necessity that we be righteous as He also is righteous.
John even points to some objective evidence that we are, indeed, God's children. He writes, "Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." A little earlier in the letter, John defined the "world" as that which is characterized by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (v. 16); and said that this world "is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (v. 17). A child of God is, in every respect, heading in a different direction than this world system and its values; and so, if the world hates us, it's proof that we don't belong to it but rather to God through His Son Jesus. Jesus Himself spoke of this when He prayed about us to His Father and said, "I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). The world's enmity toward us is proof that we are the children of God.
What does all this mean? It means that, if we have placed our faith in Jesus, John assures us that we are indeed children of God. "But as many as receive Him," John writes in his gospel, "to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe on His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).
Do you realize then that, every time you sin, you are behaving in contradiction to your true identity? You're behaving like you're still a part of that world-system from out of which God saved you - "in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Eph. 2:2-3). When you sin, you're behaving like someone else's child - like a "son of disobedience" and like a "child of wrath". How inappropriate to behave that way, when - in reality - you're a child of God by His grace!
If we truly come to understand that we are - right now, this very minute - God's own dear children by faith, and that we have been fully adopted into His family by His grace, and that we will never cease to be His precious children, then that understanding will change our manner of living. We will want to live like what we are. Coming to terms with our true identity in Christ is one of the great motivations for living a holy life.
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John then gives us a second motive for holiness; one that's found in our destiny in Christ. He goes on to say, "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (v. 2).
I remember reading something interesting about Queen Victoria. When she was a little girl, she was told that she was destined one day to be queen. She may not have looked like a queen at the time, but that's what she was destined to become. And when she heard this, she thought about it for a moment and announced, "Then I will be a good queen." She committed herself to live like what she was destined to be.
Similarly, we - as God's children - are destined to share in Christ's glory at His return. We certainly don't manifest that glory right now; but nevertheless, that's our destiny in Christ. Paul wrote,
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance (Rom. 8:18-25).
God has destined us to be brought into perfect conformity to the very image of His Son Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29). We may not see ourselves right now as God says we will, one day, be; but even so, that's our destiny. And this destiny is sure and certain (Jude 24).
John says that when Jesus is revealed in glory at His coming for us, "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (v. 2). When I read that, I think of Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 3:18; "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." Every time we open up the Bible and read about our precious Savior, the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and in our lives to make us more and more like Him. In this respect, the Bible is like a two-way mirror. James 1:23-25 suggests that the word of God, like a mirror, shows us what's wrong in our lives and teaches what we must do to make the necessary changes. But it's also like a mirror which, when we look in and see Jesus, transforms us into the very image of Jesus that we see reflected in it. This is, I believe, a way of describing the Holy Spirit's ministry of "sanctification". He progressively makes us more and more like Jesus as we walk upon this earth in fellowship with Him in accordance with the Scriptures.
But that's speaking of a progressive work of the Holy Spirit in our lives - one that's going on right now. But I believe John is speaking, in our passage, of a final work of "glorification" in which we are perfectly conformed to the full image of Jesus and are made completely glorified with Him forever. The order of events will be that (1) He will appear in His glorious return, (2) we will see Him as He is, and then, (3) we will be transformed into His image.
This expectation of future glory is to permeate our lives now, while we walk and live upon this earth. Philippians 3:20-4:1 says, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved."
Do you have this hope? Is it your eager expectation to become conformed to the full glory of Jesus Himself when He returns? Do you, like all creation, eagerly wait for the revealing of Jesus, and then of our own glory with Him? If so, then it will affect the way you live. If you truly expect to be glorified with Jesus on that future day, if you truly have that hope in you, then you will seek to live a holy life now that is in conformity with the glory you expect to be clothed with in the future. This doesn't mean you will be perfect, of course, because that wont happen until Jesus comes. But it does means that you will progressively repent of the sin in your life, and seek increasingly to live the sort of holy life that pleases God. "And everyone," John says, "who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (v. 3).
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My wonderful experience at the cabin was simply God's way of reminding me that I'm His child in Christ, and of bringing me to a fresh awareness of my identity and my ultimate destiny in Him. God gave no new truth to me. He only reminded me of what He had already promised.
Those promises are for you too, dear brother or sister in Christ. Do you claim them? Do they constitute your hope for the future? If they do, then they should transform the way you live now. Being God's children through Jesus Christ, may we - by His grace and help - live in a way that is consistent with our true identity, and in conformity with our ultimate destiny.
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