The apostle John recounts the astounding reality of God’s love for us in 1 John 3:1. He continues in verse 2-3 to mention the “now/not yet” aspect of our identity as God’s children. He writes, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” We are now fully adopted into God’s family…fully considered and treated as His sons and daughters; both in His provision, chastening, and love (Matt. 7:7-11; Heb. 12:5-6; 1 John 4:10). But John is quick to qualify that the full realization of this is yet future. “…and it has not appeared as yet what we will be…we will be like Him…” In essence, John touches on the great salvation truths of sanctification and glorification.
Sanctification is God’s work, through the Holy Spirit and His Word (2 Cor. 3:18), to make the believer increasingly holy, transforming him into the image of Christ. Sin is increasingly put to death by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13), while the fruit of the Spirit is increasingly produced (Gal. 5:22-24). As John implies here, this is a lifelong process for the Christian, “…we will be like Him…”.
Glorification is the final culmination of our salvation as a whole. This happens at Christ’s return, when we – both soul and body – are fully saved from sin and death. Sin will no longer remain in our flesh, we will no longer be subjected to death, but will be resurrected like Christ (1 Thess. 4:15-17; 1 Cor. 15:49-54). “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
What a day that will be – to see Jesus face to face (1 Cor. 13:12)! To be delivered from all illness, frailty, sickness, temptation, sin, and death. And, full of life in His glorious presence to enjoy Him forever. Truly that is life in abundance! We long for that day, and in our longing, are further sanctified. John concludes, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
As you slog through life’s troubles this week, remember how great a day is coming! Pray like John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20)
Thanks! See you Sunday…