14 February 2013

1 John 3:1-23

"Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is." (v. 3)


When a new child is born, it doesn't take long before someone says "oh, doesn't she look like her mother" or "He's got his father's ears" or something to that effect. But it doesn't stop there. As a child grows up it is not uncommon for them to take on some of their parents' mannerisms or patterns of speech (often to the amusement of other family members). It is only by being in the company of the family that these things are picked up.

There a parallel between this and today's passage. John is writing about Jesus' followers being children of God. And as children of God living in the presence the Father we (hopefully) become more like God. If we read on in the passage, we learn that becoming like the Father means loving - "Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action" (v. 18). And that is exactly what Jesus did - his life was a manifestation of love.

Some of this may happen naturally albeit gradually, through a life of devotion and discipleship. But some of this will also be an act of will and determination: "And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure" (v. 3). Purification doesn't happen easily it requires effort and a cost. The Old Testament is full of references to this, such as Psalm 66:10-12 ("For you, O God, have tested us: you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net: you laid burdens on our backs: you let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: yet you have brought us out to a spacious place") and Malachi 3:2-4 ("For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness").

To Ponder

  • What do you see of God in others?
  • What do you think others see of God in you?
  • As you travel through Lent, what needs purifying in your life to become more acceptable to God? Pray for yourself and others reading these notes, that you may live better lives of love. 

Bible notes author

Ken Kingston

Ken Kingston preaches in the High Wycombe Circuit. He has worked for the Connexional Team since 1992 in a variety of roles and has been involved in 'Called by Name' and 'Time to Talk of God' amongst others.