1 John 3:2-3
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
This is the 18th session of the 1 John Lecture series.
In the last session, I explained that our God has given us amazing love to make us His children. He gave His only begotten Son while we were sinners, saved us through His blood, and made us His children.
The unbelievers do not know His love. So they do not understand the children of God and sometimes they persecute them. But if the children of God dwell in light and spread the gospel, the unbelievers can also accept the Lord. They can also become God’s children and participate in the array of salvation.
Today’s reading passage 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” We have accepted Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit, and we are now children of God. In the past, we dwelt in sins and we had nothing to do with God, but now, we are God’s children who live in the truth.
It has not appeared as yet what these children of God will be, but when He, namely our Lord, appears, we will be like Him. This is what the passage is saying. It means that the Lord will appear to take us. He will take the children of God, who believe in the Lord, to the heavenly kingdom. By then we will be like the Lord just as He is. Namely, we will see Him in His glory itself.
John 14:2-3 says, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” After making this promise, Jesus was crucified, but He broke the authority of death and resurrected on the third day.
When the disciples were watching the resurrected Lord ascending into Heaven, two men in white clothing, namely angels, spoke to them. Acts 1:11 says, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” The Lord will surely come back, and He will take us into the house of the Father. By then, our bodies will not be the physical body we have now. Like the Lord, we will have the perfected heavenly body, which is suitable for the life in Heaven. God’s children live each day of their lives with hope, waiting for this day.
But when they hear that the Lord is coming again, the unbelievers think that it is just a fictional story. It was true at the time of Noah’s flood, too. People could not believe Noah when he said the whole world was going to be flooded.
Such a thing never happened before in their lives, and they had never heard anything like that had taken place in the days of their ancestors. But the very thing that they thought could never take place, finally took place. In the flood that covered the whole world, everyone who did not believe the words of Noah perished.
The promises of the faithful God are fulfilled as spoken. It’s the same with the forthcoming judgment. 2 Peter 3:3-4 says, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
No matter how often we say the Lord will come again and that there will be days of great tribulation, the worldly people do not want to believe it. Today’s reality seems the same as yesterday, so they think nothing will happen tomorrow. It’s because they don’t want to turn back from the lust of the world that they are enjoying right now.
But no matter how much they want to deny it, the Lord will certainly come again. Even those who do not believe in the Lord and oppose Him will witness with their own eyes the fulfillment of the word of God.
Do you believe for sure in this event that has not yet appeared but will certainly take place? If you really long for the Lord who is coming again and if you truly have hope for Heaven, you should have the deeds that follow your hope. You should not be just saying with lips, “Lord, come quickly!” but you should actually prepare yourself to receive Him.
The Bible gives us the parable of the ten virgins who were waiting for the groom until late night. The five wise virgins had enough oil for their lamps, but the other foolish five virgins did not have enough oil for their lamps. The foolish virgins were waiting for the groom, but they did not make the provision to actually receive the groom. When their grooms actually came, they could not go into the party.
Now, how should we, who are waiting for the Lord, prepare ourselves? The answer is given in the following verse 3. 1 John 3:3 says, “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Those who have hope will purify themselves just as the Lord is pure.
Even though they say they long for the Lord and hope for Heaven, those who live in sin cannot fulfill their hope. We can get into better dwelling place in Heaven to the extent that we purify ourselves, namely to the extent that we cast off sins and accomplish holiness.
If we truly have hope of Heaven, especially of New Jerusalem, we have to cast off sins to become blameless and spotless. We have to change each thought, word, and facial expression that passes by, and even our mindsets, into truth. We have to try with earnest minds each moment of everyday thinking of the ways to act more perfectly in the truth; to serve others; and to seek the benefit of others and give glory to God.
As much as we have this hope and try, God gives us the grace and strength to change ourselves. We can become God’s powerful children who are able to live a life that is free of darkness. Those who finally purify themselves as the Lord is pure and who become faithful in all God’s house will enter New Jerusalem, the most glorious place of Heaven.
In one of the Manmin praise songs, it says, “The Lord who knows the deepest part of my heart has made my house in New Jerusalem.” In fact, even though you try to imagine your heavenly house with all your imagination, it would not be easy. Even though you are asked to say what you like, many times you don’t know what you really like.
But the Lord knows the deepest part of our hearts. He knows very well what kinds of house will please us the most. Therefore, as you go into the house in New Jerusalem built by the Lord, each object you see will touch your heart. You will stand in awe thinking, “How does the Lord know every detail of my heart so well?”
Some of you might have imagined the following thinking about Heaven: “I hope I can have these precious stones in my room in Heaven because I like this color. I’d like to have a zoo, a swimming pool, a big lake, and a beautiful promenade.” Yes, as you so desire, it will be done in Heaven.
But for all your wishes to come true, you have to go into New Jerusalem. God pays His children back whatever they wish, but only to those who go into New Jerusalem. This is the fruit that is born according to God’s justice. On this earth, they denied themselves and lived only according to the will of God, so they can enjoy whatever they want in Heaven.
On the contrary, those who lived according to their own will on this earth will not be able to enjoy everything they want in Heaven. Of course, even if you receive shameful salvation and go to the 1st kingdom of Heaven or Paradise, you will enjoy happiness that cannot be compared to anything in this world. You will enjoy the best things within the measure of your faith. But that glory and happiness cannot even begin to compare with those in New Jerusalem.
God of love wants all of us to have the greatest hope. He wants to give to us the glory of not Paradise, 1st kingdom, 2nd kingdom, or the 3rd kingdom of Heaven but that of New Jerusalem.
That is why He advises us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23. It says, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I hope you will fill yourself with the hope that you will live forever with our dear Father in the best dwelling place in Heaven in the near future. I urge you to go into spirit and whole spirit quickly, earnestly waiting for the Lord’s coming. I pray in the name of the Lord that you will have nothing to do with sins of this world as holy and pure brides of the Lord.
Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” God has known each of you since even before you were born. He paid the price to buy your life with the life of His only begotten Son.
This love of God gave you re-birth and made you a precious being. Now, God is looking at you with His eyes filled with expectations. He is waiting even right now for you to realize the heart of God the Father deep in your heart and return your love to Him with all your heart.
I hope you will remember this fact always. You must never forsake the love of God. You must never take fleshly and perishable things to defile yourself with sins and evil. I pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that you will quickly recover the image of God and only give glory to God all the time.