Dear friends of ours are going through a very difficult trial. Several years ago, they spent considerable cash, effort and time to adopt a young man from a European country. However, now the teenager has a huge chip on his shoulder, wanting to get out of their house as soon as possible. He has been both disrespectful and distant. Without a doubt, he is unregenerate. He does not love the Lord and, remarkably, he does not appear to love his adopted parents. I couldn’t help but see in their heartache an analogy for what we often do to God.
By our attitude and by our actions, we basically tell our Father where He can stick our adoption. Rather than choosing to live out the reality that we are no longer children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), we choose to live like members of the Devil’s family.
As the Apostle John might say if he were present, “Beloved, this should not be!”
And I can tell you one of the guiltiest transgressors. His actions and reactions often cause his familial ties to be questioned. His words frequently cause those around him to doubt his confession. His thoughts are many times far more devilish than heavenly.
He, of course, is me.
1 John 3:1-3 was penned just for me (and all God’s people):
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
Here is how Eugene Peterson renders this verse in The Message:
“But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.”
Not every human being is a child of God. I often make that point while teaching my college courses. But those who truly are His children are expected to live at a certain standard. We (all believers) are to consider “the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model.” Thus, we actively purify ourselves as He is pure.
One commentator wrote,”‘Purifieth’ is a present tense which denotes a continuous process. We are to be pure ‘even as He [Christ] is pure’ eternally. We are not to judge our lives by other peoples’, but by Christ’s, who is the standard or toward which we are to move” (Herschel Hobbs, The Epistles of John, Thomas Nelson, 1983, p.81).
So we must as ourselves daily: In which direction am I moving?