As a parent of four, I can safely say that I have no idea what my children will be when they grow up. No one knows! Not the parents, not the grandparents, and certainly not the children. What about children of God? John wrote, “What we will be has not yet been made known” (v. 2). The only One who knows our future is God, and He has revealed just enough to excite and encourage us!
Having urged his readers to take confidence in their assurance of salvation in chapter 2, John now continued in chapter 3 to explore what it means to be children of God. The transition in today’s reading, appropriately, is an exclamation of praise: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us!” (v. 1).
As God’s children, we’re destined to become like His Son, Jesus Christ (v. 2). The goal of following and imitating Jesus is not just a dream but a certainty. The world doesn’t understand the journey we’re on, and even we ourselves don’t know exactly how things will turn out. Yet, in another sense, we do know: “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” John was probably thinking here of the time he saw Christ’s glory revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1–9).
In response to this truth, we’re to purify ourselves, meaning we’re to live a life of obedience and love (vv. 3–6). “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning” habitually, though we know we will sin and need forgiveness on occasion. This dimension of salvation is called sanctification—the process of making us like Christ. We should therefore treat sin and holiness seriously, but not anxiously. Our perseverance is guaranteed by our new life in Christ!
>> Consider the difference between worldly hope and heavenly hope. The first amounts to wishful thinking. The second, though, is marked by certainty. Our future is secure in God’s hands.
Our hope in You is a certainty. No matter the suffering we endure, the sin we commit, or the doubts we have, Your grace is sufficient and Your forgiveness final. Sanctify us to live lives characterized by obedience and love.