SHARING IN DIVINE LIFE
Father, thank You for making me Your child.
Read 1 JOHN 2:28 – 3:10
God’s Children and Sin
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,[a] 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.
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
a 1 John 3:2 Or when it is made known
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“… he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4).
The first verses of chapter 3 constitute one of the theological highlights of the letter. John beautifully describes the truth that believers are related to God through Christ as children of the Father. His assertion about the greatness of the love the Father has lavished on us is emphatic, as evidenced by the fact that we could actually be called children of God! He declares that this is indeed what we are! The original Greek does not contain punctuation, but exclamation marks are appropriate, given the
enthusiastic tone of verse 1!
John goes on to say that we do not fully know what we will become, but we do know that, when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He truly is. The key question is, what does it mean to be like Christ? Different branches of Christianity have emphasized different aspects of this. For much of western Christianity, this refers to our character – loving, kind, pure, etc.(cf. Eph 4:24). Important as this is, there are also rich theological traditions that emphasize the actual sharing in the divine life of God.
There are other New Testament hints that more is going on than transformation into greater degrees of godliness; the Greek fathers spoke of the Christian’s final transfiguration in this way. While this does not necessarily mean confusing Creator with created, it does mean that in a real sense the destiny of every Christ-follower is to enter into and appropriate the actual life of God and to become transformed into His very likeness (cf. 2 Cor 3:18; Rom 8:29,30). The incarnation has opened the way for humanity to share in God’s being.
Salvation means that we are not simply being sanctified, butalso that we are being glorified and invited into Christ’s divine life. Thank God for this. What does it mean for you today?
Lord, Your people look forward to the day when You return and we become like You.