1Jn 2:28-29 “And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”
What wonderful words of comfort and admonition; abide in Him. Make Jesus your dwelling place. This is not a decision that starts with us. John has already written to us about the love and power of God, and that is our starting point. Jesus Himself said “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (Joh 15:16).” It is in His strength and by His grace that we are brought to this point in time and place. Now (here, this minute), abide in Him. Whatever is going on around you, you have an abiding place.
We generally refer to the place where we abide as “home.” When you think of home, what images does that call to mind? Home is a place where I feel safe. It is the place where most of what I consider valuable to me is kept. Home is where I look forward to being at the end of a trying day. One of the reasons for this is that there is someone at home who loves me and is glad to see me come home. I am thankful that I have a place to call home where I am sheltered from the elements and find a measure of peace. Abide in Him: our homes here are temporary and not always as secure as we like to think, but Jesus is a sure dwelling place!
The scripture tells us to watch (be vigilant) because we don’t know when He may be pleased to come to us (Mat 25:13). There is a promise tucked away in this, the same promise that John mentions above. John says “when he shall appear.” While we may not always know the moment that He will choose to manifest Himself in any situation, we have the assurance that He will come (He shall appear). We are to be vigilant in our expectation of His coming to us every day.
I don’t believe the scripture is telling us how to be prepared for the end of the world here. Remember that John says “And now.” We need to anticipate the coming of our Savior every day in every situation we face. Be vigilant, because He is coming. Abide in Him (make Him your dwelling place) so that when He comes we won’t have any reason to be ashamed.
I remember times from my childhood when my dad left me instructions on a certain task he expected me to accomplish. When I “dwelled” in him (paid attention to his instruction and acted on what he had told me) and completed the task, I could hardly wait for him to get home. Unfortunately, there were times when I was more concerned with what I thought I wanted to do. Everything was fine until I heard his car turn into the driveway.
At that moment I was filled with dread and shame because I knew I had not done what he had asked of me. I wasn’t afraid he was going to do me some great physical damage or disown me because I had failed. I knew that this man loved me and sacrificed much for my happiness and security, and I was ashamed because I had not honored that by completing whatever task he had set for me. He never asked anything of me that was beyond my training or capability. Thankfully, his love for me did not waver whether I had been obedient or not. It was my joy and confidence that was diminished when I failed to abide. If this is true in our natural lives and relationships, how much more is it so when we are talking about the Shepherd of our souls?
I know that Jesus is righteous. There is no doubt in my heart of His innocence or holiness. Knowing that He is righteous, He asks of me to only do righteousness. He has given me the training and ability I need to do what He asks. When I do righteousness, I look forward to His appearing with confidence. I know that He has been my abiding place and I am born of Him. I don’t have to be ashamed at His appearing, but instead look forward to it with great anticipation.
May we now (today) abide in Him who has loved us with an everlasting love and called us to glory and virtue (2Pe 1:3) that we should have confidence (assurance) at His appearing!