1Jn 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
What wonderful news! We are dearly and well loved. We are beloved of John; we are beloved of the brethren; and we are beloved of God. Before you think “John never knew me,” consider that there were many to whom these letters were addressed that the authors did not know in a personal sense. However, they knew their relationship in the Father. When we truly understand our relationship in Him, all of His become beloved to us even if we never meet them in this life.
More wonderful news! We are the sons (children; the Greek root is not gender specific) of God now. We have been His since before the beginning of time, in His mind and purpose. Jesus came to fulfill our Father’s will and make us fit for His holy presence. The Holy Spirit has been given us to assure us in our hearts that this is true. We are the children of God by the will of God according to the good pleasure of God. We have no more to do with being children of God than we did in becoming the children of our natural parents.
Over the years, I have read many articles, heard a number of sermons, and learned many songs that attempt to tell us what our life will be like beyond the grave. I am persuaded that we have almost no concept of what that blessed eternity is going to be. We cannot truly grasp the reality of eternity because our consciousness has always been bound by time.
While we can talk of the concept and believe that Eternal Heaven is real, we cannot describe it. Much of what men have used to describe the eternal abode of God is, I believe, more of a description of the beauty and inestimable value of God’s kingdom here. The things used to describe the kingdom do appear; they are seen and measured (gold, rubies, pearls, etc.). We are now the children of God; it does not appear what we shall be.
We do know this, because we are now the children of God; when He (Jesus) shall appear, we shall be like Him. There is a sense in which we know this by the faith that God gives us. We are also given the immeasurable blessing of having experiences with Jesus through the Holy Spirit while we live here. We are blessed to experience, in small measure, the reality of being like Him when He appears. We experience this evidence every time we are blessed to exercise the mind of Christ. When He appears to us in this kingdom, we become like Him. We are able to do things that please the Father while overcoming temptations.
When we are blessed with this confidence (hope), we purify ourselves. We are cleansed for His service now (notice the present tense of purifieth), even as Jesus is clean. This is the essence of God’s instruction that we be holy even as He is holy. While this holiness and purification work in us, they come from God. It is a part of being like Jesus, and this assures us that we will see Him as He is.
May we find great joy in the assurance that we are now the sons (children) of God, not be concerned about what we shall be, and rest in the assurance that when Jesus shall appear we shall be like Him!