IT IS FOR REAL
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we could be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be, has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. (1 John 3: 1-3)
Children of God! This was an important truth to John.
He had once been a part of the world, even though he was a Jew, thinking like the world and behaving like the people of the world system. He knew what it was like to hate, to live by retaliation and revenge. He knew the ravages of guilt and shame, fear and anxiety. He knew the pain of broken relationships, the bitterness of resentment and unforgiveness. He knew the havoc his conscience caused when he refused to acknowledge his sin and tried to pretend that it didn’t happen. John knew what it felt like to be an orphan – estranged from God and afraid of Him.
Then Jesus came and his world was turned upside down. He was introduced to the Father he had never known, the Father who loved him as much as He loved His Son. He was invited follow a man who was different from any other man he had even known. This man was gentle, kind, forgiving and full of mercy. In the face of bitter hatred He remained unfazed, never seeking revenge, never retaliating in anger. He was powerful too. He healed the sick, cast out demons and even raised the dead. He never fought His enemies with emotion – He always spoke the truth and they hated Him for it.
One terrible night the religious authorities had Him arrested and before his disciples could figure out what was happening, He was strung up on a cross and died. He kept telling them it would happen, but they didn’t believe Him until it happened. Then an even more mind-boggling thing happened. Three days later He walked out of the tomb and they saw Him.
For forty days, He came and went, appearing and disappearing like a phantom and yet He was real. They touched Him; they heard Him; they spoke to Him. He even ate with them. Then one day He disappeared for good. They saw Him leave, but He gave them an instruction and a promise. “The Holy Spirit is coming. Wait for Him.”
On the Day of Pentecost, he was catapulted into a realm of living he had only heard about from the lips of Jesus. Power! They had power like they had never known. All the mysteries of their Master’s death and resurrection were cleared up. Their hearts and consciences were free. They felt clean inside. They were filled with joy. They preached His message with boldness and power.
Best of all, they were no longer orphans. The Father to whom Jesus had introduced them and whom He had revealed to them by His words and actions was their Father too. The Holy Spirit witnessed in their hearts that they were God’s children, born from above, with new hearts and changed attitudes. His love gushed through them like a perennial spring. Jesus’ word came alive in their hearts as they went about telling all around them the truth that He really was the Son of God.
How John delighted to assure his readers that they, too, really were God’s children! The very same love that He had for His perfect Son was now being poured out on them, His immature and imperfect children. God saw them as already perfect in Jesus. He accepted them and embraced them because of Jesus. He delighted to have fellowship with them. He guarded and protected them jealously, only allowing them to experience what was good for them, working in their hearts to teach them to think and act like His Son. Jesus was His blueprint. The Holy Spirit was to restore in them the same heart of a son that was in Jesus – loving submission and obedience to the Father to carry out the Father’s will.
But it didn’t stop there. God, through His Son, had done everything to restore His family to Himself, but they had to respond to His love. In simple terms, John urged them: “God has picked you up out of the mud and washed you clean. He has dressed you in the pure robe of Jesus’ righteousness which He earned at great cost. Now stay out of the mud!”
All He asks of you is to keep away from the things that defiled you. Don’t go back to your old ways. The realm you are now living in is the right way up. Jesus showed you how to live in it. He gave you His Spirit to guide and teach you and go give you the power to obey Him. The world and its standards and practices are not forever. They will all be destroyed when Jesus returns. Selfishness, greed, hatred, bitterness and anger will never be experienced in God’s kingdom where everything will be perfect once again.
You can’t take the mud with you. If you mess with worldly ways again, you will perish with them.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2: 15-17)
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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