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photo: weekly snaps graphic: Martha G. Brady

graphic: Martha G. Brady

And now, dear children, continue in him,

so that when he appears we may be confident 

and unashamed before him at his coming.

If you know that he is righteous, 

you know that everyone who does what is right

has been born of him.

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.

But we know that when Christ appears, 

we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  

All who have this hope in him purify themselves, 

just as he is pure.

 I John 2:28-3:3

I wonder if John’s use of “dear children” has anything to do with the fact that he was 90, was the last of disciples who was alive and had pastored many of these people either face to face or in writing for years.

I do know he wasn’t writing it to address them in a more generic way as those who are part of the human race…but rather those who are part of GOD’s family. There is something very endearing, tender and pastoral about the way he addresses the original people to whom this book was written…as well as us!

This section of I John is considered to be transitional or as Boice says, parenthetical. “And now” might better be stated “since this is so”. It links the previous passage on truth in our doctrine and continuing in Christ to the concept of righteousness that is discussed all the way through this section to 3:10.

Righteousness and the Lord’s Return (vss. 28-29)

Some have thought that because John left out passages on the Second Coming that were in the other gospels that by inference, he felt the Second Coming had already happened. But there are plenty of other Scriptures, including this one, that refute that teaching! I was interested to learn that was even a teaching. I hadn’t heard it before!

But John taught enough other places about heaven and Jesus’ coming in ways that were different from the other gospels that indicated that it hadn’t happened yet for sure.  Think of John 14:1-3 or John 21:20-22 for example.

The interesting thing about John’s teaching on the Second Coming here is that John teaches it in a very practical way! It is tied with righteous living…not perfect living, but righteous.

As we live in light of the Lord’s return…something that can happen at any time, we need to live in such a way that we won’t be ashamed of the way we have represented our Father. He is righteous. As a child of His, our lives should be showing evidences of that family trait.

He also mentions that as we live in light of the imminent return of Christ, our lives should be becoming purer as Jesus is pure. I can’t say I totally understand this, but there is a way that living in light of Christ’s soon coming will purify my life.

The love of the Father (vss. 3:1-3)

When I read that line:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,

that we should be called children of God! 

I automatically think of icing a cake with thick frosting. Lavishing it on in thick piles with high peaks…or a meringue that is light and fluffy and piled on top of a delicious pie.

But this is even better than food! It is the love of the Father for us. It is like the good millionare parent who adores their child and has every resource available to care for them, but is aware that giving the child everything she wants is not good for her.

The parent lavishes resources on the child that are good for the child to develop the abilities she has, to grow character, to develop work ethic, to learn skills and to be educated. But does not allow the child to sit and do nothing, or simply to have things because she wants them or indulge her selfish desires.

That is the kind of lavish love our heavenly Father has for us. That’s why our walk through life is not always easy or pain-free.

He knows who and what we are to the core! He loves us anyway. Not only that, He redeemed us at our worst. He reached out in grace and mercy to save us, yet satisfied all His demands for justice in the person of Jesus Christ who lived the perfect life we couldn’t and paid the penalty for sin with His life that we couldn’t.

So He loved us and in Christ, made us worthy to be His children. There was nothing about us, per se, that made us particularly desireable or even redeemable. He loved us because He loved us.

So when He comes to earth the next time, we will be changed to more fully be like Him. We will see Him as He is…and be like Him!

Does that make your heart dance with hope?

But it doesn’t stop there! We are to put this hope into action.

Where do you see this hope in Christ changing your life in the direction of purifying your life?


**I’ve started changing up the earlier posts I have done on I John. Not all have to be changed as much as I thought even though they continue to be long.