“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 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. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 2:28–3:3 ESV)
We are His adopted sons and daughters! WOW! It should never cease to amaze us that God makes His enemies His family. That is real love! Most Christians readily understand & confess that their sins are forgiven (justification), but many struggle to truly embrace that they are adopted children of God. We may get it in our heads, but don’t meditate on it so that it migrates to our hearts and impacts us at the core of our beings.
We are to abide in Him so that we can discern right doctrine, have right motivations and pursue right behavior. This will assure us of our salvation. We must always rest on Jesus’ righteousness alone. As we rest & rely on His righteousness, we will begin to look like Him. We must never lean on our own righteousness, but upon the righteousness of the true and better older brother – Jesus.
There is unavoidable friction between those who name the name of Jesus and those who do not. We serve two different Masters. Believing in God’s love for us is the fuel for transformation. His love is so deep and wide that He made His arch enemies His adopted sons. John addresses us as “beloved,” which is a form of the same word that John uses for love in verse one when he marveled at the love of God towards us. We are beloved, objects of His love and affection – we are His children. And though we are not fully like Him yet, we will be like Him because we will see Him.
The primary way to be like God is to see Him, to behold Him for who He really is. There is coming a day where mortality, brokeness & sin fades and gives way to a perfect paradise lived in the presence of God. No more sin, no more mental illness, no more intellectual falseness, no more depression, no more sadness, no more decit. All the sad things will be made untrue. As we set our hope upon Him, we seek to live pure upright lives. Our hope produces transformation of heart which yields transformed behaviors.