Friday 06 August 2010

Bible Book:
1 John

"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.2)

1 John 3:1-3 Friday 6 August 2010


1 John doesn't share many characteristics with the other NewTestament letters, particularly in that it is unclear who is beingaddressed and there aren't the normal words of greetings.

It seems to be prompted by a crisis among the community to which itis addressed. There would appear to be certain people who areupsetting the community and its beliefs. There is a deep pastoralfeeling to the writing and the impression is given that the writerknows and cares about this community. If you read the whole letteryou will notice that the recipients are often referred to as'Beloved' and 'Children'. Both terms of address are used in thisshort passage.

The writer declares that we are 'children of God' as a consequenceof God's generous actions of love. This, in some way, separates theChristian community from the wider world, as not all people arehere described as 'children of God'. The passage contains a senseof tension between what is already the case and what is to come.The Christian community are already children of God and their finalstate is, as yet, unknown, other than it will be "like him". Thisis a reference to Christ.

Living in this in-between time should be marked by three things,according to this passage:

  • marveling at being children of God
  • a sense of security in being children of God
  • a deep hope concerning what is to come, even though there is asense in which that remains unknown.

All of this should lead the reader to purify themselves.The verse which precedes this passage and the verses that follow,particularly verse 7, suggest that this purity has to do with doingwhat is right.


To Ponder

What does it mean, or would it mean, to you tosee yourself as a child of God?

The passage assumes the world does not understandthe Christian community. To what extent do you think that isinevitable, or perhaps even true?

Living in between times was very real for earlyChristian communities. What sense do you have of being 'between'times or between the dawn of the Christian community and itsfulfillment?

Where and in what ways are you being challengedto do what is right?

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