For about a month now I’ve been slowly diving through the small letter/sermon of 1 John. Last week I was in 1 John 2:28-3:9. I learned a couple of things from that small passage…one of which I will share in this post and the second in my next post (so stay tuned!).
If you read that passage (and I suggest you do) you will notice that John begins by urging them to act like Jesus in view of His coming (or “appearing”). This wasn’t anything new. Other New Testament authors encouraged the church to act in view of Christ’s return. Jesus Himself urged His disciples to live thus. But what exactly does this mean? and why is it important?
To the first question, it means that we pursue/practice righteousness, as John notes at 2:29. Not our own righteousness, for anything we try to do on our own accord ends up looking like a pile of filth. Instead we emulate Christ and seek to live in the way He did. This is a simplified explanation, but if I need to go further, please ask me to do so and I will expound my point in the comments.
Now to the second question. Why is it important? Many American Christians only live in the here and now. They never think about the future, and they rarely practice righteousness…but why does it matter? At 3:2, John points out that one day, when Christ appears, we shall be like Him. So what? Surrounding this thought are verses on practicing righteousness and looking more and more like Jesus. One day the transformation that began on our souls at conversion will reach its completion and we will be like Christ. But until then we should still be striving to emulate our Savior…
In other words, live now like you will be then. Don’t waste your time now living like a mindless rebel. Live now like Christ…for one day, if you are a Christian, that’s the only way you’ll act…and it’s a ton better than the confused way you act now.