28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
3 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should 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. 2 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. 3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
(1 John 2:28 – 3:3 NIV)
Let’s step back for just a moment and look for the “red dot” on our map that says “you are here”. John’s letter is a series of five pairs of teachings, with each pair consisting of doctrine and duty, of theology and practice, of teachings and tests. We are in the second of the five pairs, and John has just finished his teaching about those who are trying to lead followers of Christ away from Jesus.
Today we begin the “practice” part of John’s second teaching pair. John reminds us that Christ is coming again (2:28 and 3:2). John surrounds this epic event of Christ’s return with several reminders.
The first reminder is that we need to be ready for Christ’s return. This is a big deal – a “once-in-eternity” event that we have all our lives to prepare for. It’s like the biggest marriage ceremony and family get-together that has happened or will ever happen.
Once again, John addresses us as children, not talking down to us, but rather, as a term of endearment. The Greek word John uses refers to young learners who are able to understand his teaching, like an elementary school age child.
John says we need to be ready for the big event (2:28 and 3:3). That means getting out of our play clothes, getting a shower, and putting on our good clothes in anticipation of the big event of Christ’s return. John says that we don’t want to be embarrassed in our sweaty, smelly play clothes with our muddy and grass-stained sneakers when the wedding party arrives.
John’s second reminder is that God lavishes His love on us, calling us His children. Have you ever had anyone (a parent, grandparent, or family member) lavish their love on you, as they look in your eyes and let you know how much they love you just for being you, and not because of something you have said or done? John is saying that that is what God is doing to us and for us, as His children.
May you experience God’s lavish love and acceptance today, as you continue to prepare for the once-in-eternity celebration that awaits us as God’s children and followers of Jesus Christ.