Thursday, April 18, 2024

2024.04.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 John 2:28–3:3

Read 1 John 2:28–3:3

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call them (again) in 1 John 2:28? What does he tell them to do? How does this relate to their anointing from Christ (cf. 1 John 2:27)? What is He going to do? What will those who are abiding in Him have, when He appears? What won’t they be? Before Whom? At what time? What do they know about Him (1 John 2:29)? What is His righteousness the only explanation for? How do those who practice righteousness come to do so? With what command does 1 John 3:1 begin? What are they to behold about God’s love? What does he call God, as a clue to what sort of love this is? With what verb does he describe the extension of this love from the Father to them? What does this love bring about—what does the bestowing of Fatherly love cause them to be called? Who do not know/acknowledge/understand them? Whom else does the world not know/acknowledge/understand? Now what does the apostle call them in 1 John 3:2? How does their name relate to their current status? What aspect of their adoption has not yet been appeared (cf. Romans 8:23)? But what do we know about that aspect at the time of His appearing? What will we be like? In order to do what? Again, in 1 John 3:3, what do all children/beloved already have? In Whom? What does each of them do to Himself? According to what standard?

What do God’s children do? 1 John 2:28–3:3 prepares us for the second serial reading in public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s children abide in Christ and purify themselves as He is pure.

There are two great commands here that produce the same result in the life of the believer. The commands are with respect to the Son and the Father, and each is sustained by a special work of the Holy Spirit. 

Abide in the Son1 John 2:28-29. It is from out of the Son that we were born (end of 1 John 2:29), which is the only way that someone comes to practice (more literally, “work”) righteousness. We were originally born out of our first father, Adam, so we do not begin as those who work righteousness. But we know that Christ is righteous (verse 29a). Everyone who works righteousness has a new birth from Christ and in Christ. There is no other way that this happens, and no other working is “righteous.” 

Those who have had this beginning of being born of Christ will have the sweet ending, at His coming, of not being ashamed before Him (1 John 2:28). How extraordinary! It is one thing to be in a condition in which you will not be ashamed before men. But what is it to be in a condition in which we will not be ashamed before the glorified Jesus?! The only way that this can happen is to “abide in Him.” And we know from 1 John 2:27 how that happens. The anointing that we have received from Christ (His Holy Spirit) abides in us, teaches us, and makes us to abide in Him (cf. verse 27). 

Behold the love of the Father1 John 3:1. More precisely than to behold the love itself, the command is to behold what sort of love it is. So, 1 John 3:1 is commanding not merely consideration but wonder. What sort of love is it?

  • It is divine love—love that issues from the goodness of God and the fellowship of the Godhead.
  • It is Fatherly love, the love of “the Father”—love that is from everlasting, with the divine Father as its fountain and the divine Son as its object; we have been brought into that love (cf. Ephesians 1:4–6).
  • It is adopting love. It causes us to be called the children of God.
  • It is gifted love—“bestowed,” not earned.
  • It is consoling love. 

When the world refuses to acknowledge us and denounces us, it is a reminder tat this is a consequence of having been brought into the family whose Head receives the same from them (end of 1 John 3:1). What sort of love is this? Behold what sort of love! As the Spirit makes us to cry “Abba, Father,” (cf. Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6), He is pouring out this sort of love in our hearts (cf. Romans 5:5). 

Therefore, purify yourself1 John 3:2-3. Both instances of “revealed” in 1 John 3:2 are the same as “appears” in 1 John 2:28. Jesus will soon appear (verse 28). Only then will the full consequences of our adoption also appear (1 John 3:2b, cf. Romans 8:23). We already have status as children (1 John 3:2a), and we already have the hope (1 John 3:3, biblical/NT hope, i.e., “sure certainty”) that when He appears we shall be like Him and see Him as He is (end of 1 John 3:2). But we do not yet have the hoped-for things: glorified body and purified soul. 

So, the hope makes a difference. We are unable to “work on” a glorified body, but sanctification is for keeps. And those who live out of this hope purify themselves as He is pure. This cuts two ways. First, He is the standard of our purification. His own purity gives purity its definition and extent. Second, His purity is the outcome of our purification. We labor as those who are sure to arrive at the goal —who are sure not to be ashamed, even before Him and even at His (glorious!) coming. Both the abiding in the Son that the Spirit teaches, and the love of Father that the Spirit pours out in our hearts, have this great effect: they drive us to purify ourselves. They compel sanctification!

By what means do you abide in Christ? How is “making your home in Christ” your goal as you attend upon those means? Who tells you to do this and gives to you to do this? With what sort of love has the Father loved you? What does this guarantee about your end? What does this hope drive you to do?

Sample prayer:  Lord, if we were to stand before You in ourselves, or in our present condition, we would surely be ashamed. Forgive us, and cleanse us of our remaining sin, so that we will not be ashamed. Forgive us for how forgetful we are of abiding in You, and grant that we would rest in You and flourish spiritually. Forgive us for being too unimpressed with the greatness of the Father’s love for us. And forgive us for desiring to be acknowledged by the world. Forgive us for not keeping our eyes upon the purifying that is necessary in order to see You as You are. And grant that we would have this hope and live in this hope, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP118A “Because He’s Good, O Thank the LORD” or TPH461 “Blessed Are the Sons of God”

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