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Parentage, Potential and Purity. 1 John 3:1-3


The Christian’s Parentage, Potential and Purity

Text: 1 John 3:1-3. We turn the page in our study of 1st John, and we come to chapter 3, and John talks about what we already are, as Christians, – what we will be, and what we ought to be.

1. The Christian’s Parentage. V1.
We are children of God…
What kind of love is this! We are only part of God’s family because of His wonderful grace and love for sinners.
* It is MARVELLOUS LOVE! Have you ever stopped to marvel at this? John did. The opening phrase of the chapter ‘see what kind of love’ – ‘behold what manner of love’ is the phrase ιδετε ποταπην αγαπην. The Greek ποταπην is such a rare and unusual word. (Someone told me that a good English equivalent might be something like WOW!) Do we ever MARVEL at what He has done for us at the cross, that wonderful act of atonement, when he paid the price for undeserving, (hell deserving) sinners.
* It is FREELY GIVEN love! John records that this love has been given to us. We haven’t earned it, or worked for it or even desired it. It was lavished upon us by our gracious Heavenly Father.
What name have we been given? When you meet a mother with a new baby what’s the first thing you ask? Well. You might enquire after their weight or their health… But you will certainly ask ‘What’s his name?’ Or ‘What is she called?’ We are called, THE CHILDREN OF GOD. There is great honour in that name. We are not ashamed of that name. Jesus reminds us of this in Mark 8:38

What kind of children are we? We are adopted children. John reiterates that we are not just ‘called’ God’s children, but that in fact we ARE God’s children. and so we are. We were by nature the children of wrath, we were the children of our father, the devil. Like natural children who didn’t choose which family they would be born into, we didn’t choose to be adopted by God. He did it. He rescued us and brought us to a place of safety and refuge. Here are some references to adoption in the Bible: Galatians 3:26 -27. 4:6-7

Where will we grow up? Well we certainly won’t be welcome in the vile playground of this world and it’s culture. And if we really are part of God’s family, we will want to grow up, and develop within that family.

So this verse reminds us of what we are, we are God’s children.

2. The Christian’s Potential. V2.
* Right Now. Now John is going to teach us something about our future, as God’s children, but he first states again some important facts about what is happening in the Christian’s life right now. He tells us…
* We are God’s Children right NOW. BUT We are NOT yet perfected or glorified. I’ve heard it said that if you go to a certain big church in America, you could be told how to have your best life now. It’s a deceitful lie that keeps you out of heaven. Philippians 1:21 John agrees, what we will be has not yet appeared – the best is yet to come.
God is preparing us for Heaven. And because we are his children now, God is preparing us to be with him in glory. The Holy Spirit is working a progressive sanctification within us. There is another day coming, – the day…
* When He Appears. On that day:-

We shall be like him. But how? We shall have resurrected bodies, like the resurrected body of Christ. Philippians 3:20-21  In fact, that is one of the purposes of our salvation, that in that last day, we shall become like Him, with glorified bodies, with freedom from sin, Revelation 21:4
We shall see him. Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

We too will see Jesus – and on that day, WE WILL BE LIKE HIM. How marvellous will that be?


3. The Christian’s Purity. V3
Finally, we have one last aspect of this passage to explore. If we are going to be like Jesus then, John argues that we must act like Jesus now. And there’s the problem. He is sinless and we are not. We are sinners, and we continually fall and fail. So let’s see what John is saying:-
* We have a hope that is steadfast and certain! everyone who thus hopes How can we trust in a hope? In English, hope is such a weak word. I hope to have a great meal with my family next week. It sounds like I might have or I might not! Not in the NT. The Greek phrase for this τὴν ἐλπίδα ταύτην, means a SETTLED CERTAINTY based on the sure promises of God. 1 Peter 1:3  Hebrews 6:19,
* When There is a link between our hope and our holiness! everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself If we have that sure and certain hope, we will PURIFY OURSELVES. There is a practical evidence of a changed life, there is evidence of sanctification. That should concern us, it should worry us… Except for one little phrase that John is careful to add, to teach us how holiness is perfected in us…
* Our Holiness rests upon Christ who IS holy. purifies himself as he is pure Do you see the distinction that John makes here between us and Christ? The grammar is vital. We MUST purify ourselves – not so Jesus, for Jesus IS (already, present tense) holy. So, because we are not holy and He is, John points us to Christ, our representative and substitute who satisfies God’s holiness for us. The only way for us to be holy enough to be in heaven is to be trusting in Christ’s holiness, to continually examine our lives with the help of God the Holy Spirit, and to repent of our sin, confessing it to God, seeking his forgiveness, purchased for us at Calvary, and to live humble repentant lives, trusting in Him. Then in humility and in grateful thanks for the One who first loved us, to seek to walk in his holy footsteps. Philippians 1:6,

So, in this passage we are taught that amazingly, we are part of God’s family, and he is doing a work in our lives, preparing us for the day when we see Jesus, face to face. We’re not perfect yet, just forgiven, but on that day we will be perfect made like him, given a resurrection body, – in view of that we must remain in Christ, trusting him, resting in his holiness and sacrifice and lovingly seeking to walk in his paths, according to his word.
© Bob McEvoy

From → 1st John

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