Reflections of the Father
Eternal Father, for Your perfect goodness and perfect wisdom, for Your love to me, I praise and worship You.
Read 1 John 2:28-3:10
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The child is father of the man” (William Wordsworth 1770-1850). But John tells us that our divine parentage should determine who we are and become.
I think John would have loved the image of DNA to help express what he writes here about our relationship with God. We have been “born of him” (2:29; 3:9), the objects of passionate parental love from God himself (3:1). His “seed” is in us (3:9). But our DNA doesn’t determine what we shall be; it merely sets the fences around the field, allowing us freedom to decide what we shall grow or build on it. We have the responsibility to decide to reproduce the family characteristics that will mark us as “children of God” (3:2).
John picks out four family traits we need to show: three positive, one negative. The negative is simply–no sin! “In him is no sin” (3:5), so it shouldn’t be in his children, either. The TNIV translation of 3:6 is probably right: “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (italics added). It’s not a matter of spotless perfection, but of walking in the light purified by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). The three positive characteristics are: (1) righteousness (2:29; 3:7), which is not a stiff morality but the quality that Jesus shows when he forgives us (1 John 1:9; 2:1; “just” and “righteous” are the same Greek word); (2) purity (3:3), which means inner dedication of heart, matching God’s commitment to us; and, of course, (3) love (3:10). Without love, all claims to relationship with God are false.
John sets all this in the context of our expectation that we will see our heavenly Father one day soon (2:28; 3:2). To become like him now, expressing these family characteristics, is the best way to prepare for seeing him face to face because, then, he won’t be a stranger!
Pray through those four family characteristics, reviewing your life and noting specific ways to develop and show them more clearly each day.
Gracious Lord, I thank You that I can stand before You perfect in Christ. Do Your sanctifying work in me to make me more like Jesus in daily life.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.