“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
— 1 John 3:2
Rarely in this world can we have assurance regarding anything—plans changes in an instant, people fail to keep their word and life often does not pan out how we expect it to. In a world of inconsistency, John’s words in verse 2 stand as a beacon of hope for the Christian’s future of being fully transformed into the image and likeness of Christ. John has assurance in the fact that when Christ appears, we will also be like him. Two distinct but related encouragements arise out of this passage:
CHILDREN OF GOD, NOW
Surely, John’ words of being transformed into the image of Christ sound comforting and encouraging, especially for those who have walked through a great deal of suffering on this earth. Yet, as we wait for the Lord to restore and renew all things, we must rest in the fact that we have been made children of God now. Our adoption does not hang in the future but is an actual fact for every believer that has been united to Christ. Christ has rescued us from the domain of darkness and has ushered us into his family as adopted and redeemed sons and daughters.
Even in this blessed state of being an adopted son of God, we should still yearn and long for Christ to return. Our eyes should ever gaze upward and cry, “Come quickly Lord Jesus, come quickly.” We long for the place where there is no more mourning, no more tears and no more death. We long for the return of our Savior, in whom there is complete restoration and renewal. Our eyes naturally drift to what is lacking yet John looks forward to the not yet—Christ’s return and our transformation with him.
The work that Christ inaugurated in the in his first coming will surely be consummated in his second coming. All that sin has brought into the world will one day be fully and finally eradicated at the second coming of Jesus Christ. John has confidence that when Christ comes, we will be like him, which is a sure foundation that every Christian can rest their hope on. Sin and its effects are no match for the conquering work of Christ, both in his first and second coming.
WE WILL SEE HIM
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 27, “One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.” The Psalmist has a burning desire to dwell in the midst of God’s presence and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord. One day, John writes, that will come true in the return of Christ. We will be like Christ because we will ultimately see Christ for who he truly is. Is this not what all our hearts long for? To gaze at the person and the beauty of Christ and be found in Him blameless? In this life, we walk by faith, guided by God’s word and truth, but our hearts are truly hungry to gaze at the glorious face of Jesus Christ. In my short lifetime, I have seen some beautiful sites.
I have stood at the base of Teton’s in Jackson, Wyoming and been blown away with their majesty. I have surveyed the vastness of the Grand Canyon and have been left in awe of the sight. I have stood at the alter of my wedding and have seen my beautiful bride walk down the isle. Yet, in all of this, nothing will compare to the day when we stand face to face with Jesus Christ and gaze whole-heartidily at his beauty. One day church, Christ will descend and make his dwelling with us. One day, he will wipe away every tear from our eye. One day, we will see him and be like him. Horatio Spafford, longing for return of Christ, penned these famous words:
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.