1 John 3:2
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
This is perhaps my favorite of all passages of Scripture – a passage that promises great hope and change. A sure hope that in our struggle against sin there is a coming change. Let’s look at it.
It says right now, this moment, we are children of God – done deal, sealed and sure – we are His. But often I still act like my old self. I still battle that old nature and get tired of struggling, failing and living below what God has for me. If what I am experiencing now is all there is to being a child of God – wrestling against the flesh, sometimes winning, too often losing in a seemingly endless battle – well, it just isn’t that glorious.
But this passage tells me I have a brighter future. One day, one glorious day, I will see Him and that will produce a most marvelous result – a change – I will be like Him! The battle will be over! I will obtain the goal for which I have been running – I will see Him (the ultimate prize) and I will be made sinless, pure, holy – like Him! What a fantastic promise, to know that I will win this battle, the old nature will be defeated. I will be free! I will see Him and will be able to approach him not just positionally pure because of His work on Calvary but fully purified, like Him, free from the grip of temptation and sin.
Right now I am free from the penalty of sin. Day by day I am becoming free from the power of sin. And one very glorious day I will be free from the very presence of sin! In the meantime, I am a child of God – right now. I don’t have to work for it, try to earn it or wish it were true. I am a child of God.
Knowing I won’t fully defeat sin until He appears should I just give up the fight, accept my failures and sin, since I know they will be with me until the day He appears? Certainly not, as the next passage tells me.
“All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3) This hope is supposed to lead me to change, to purify myself, move in that ultimate direction, though I know the full attainment will be His work and not mine. I want to live pointing my life toward that goal. I want to live in a way that pleases my Heavenly Father, though I will often fail and falter in that goal. But when I get knocked down, beaten up by sin, the flesh or the devil, I don’t have to wallow in the mud of hopelessness. I can get up, run back to Dad, like the prodigal son, and realize I will not be like this forever. One splendid day Jesus will appear. I will see Him and I will be changed, I will be like Him! Such glorious hope and change!
Knowing this gives me courage to get up, get back in the race and run to win – knowing that ultimately I will win because He has already won.
As God’s children we have already been set free from the penalty of sin.
As we grow in our conformity to His image we are being set free from the power of sin.
One most marvelous day we will see Him and be set free from the presence of sin.