A small child [in the cartoon series Theopolis] gazes up at the eyes of his father and asks the question…WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
When I read the dialogue in the cartoon I thought the father gave a reasonably good answer to his son. He emphasized communication with the Father, seeking first the Kingdom of heaven, displaying the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life. It wasn’t a bad answer. But imagine the father’s shock if you can when the son asked if he had actually seen such a person!
Is it possible, as the above cartoon suggests, that we sometimes talk a good talk, but walk a poor walk? We might be able to tell others what a Christian is–may even profess to be one ourselves–but have we ever shown them?
The 3 W’s That Explains What A Christian Is And How We Can Demonstrate Who We Are
#1. WHAT WE ARE, 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
“How great is the 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.”
John here turns his letter from the world to God.
The world’s glory may be glamorous and enticing, but also shallow and momentary. What the world gives today, it takes away tomorrow.
God gives something permanent, something authentic, something life-changing, something eternal and something to gaze upon in [VERSE 1 (NKJV)]:
IT’S THE LOVE OF GOD!
Those who have been born of God, meaning those that practice righteousness (2:29), is now “called children of God.”
RIGHTEOUSNESS begins with faith and ends in LOVE.
The reason we are told to “BEHOLD” is to see what great love the Father has bestowed upon us.
“Behold” (idou) means to sense and see, and to see with awakened understanding. It calls one to stop and think about this amazing truth and what we are to sense, see and marvel at is the GREAT LOVE God has given us.
LOVE is agape, denoting divine or the highest form of love. The whole wonderful plan of SALVATION begins with God. And while we were once enemies, God loved us and sent His Son to die for us (Rom. 5:8). His LOVE is so great that by the NEW BIRTH experience, we are now related to the One Who is the Divine Creator of the Universe and can call him Father!
We Are The Children Of God!
We receive from Christ a new nature, a godly nature, and thus are called children of God.
We shouldn’t expect the world around us to understand this thrilling relationship because it doesn’t understand the awesomeness of God. This love and resulting sonship are foreign to the world. Only a person who knows God through Jesus Christ can appreciate what it means to be called a child of God. Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to EXPECTING God’s love we no longer stand in awe before it. In fact, we actually take it for granted. We even think of it as something God owes us.
When I was a young romantic boy in elementary school, I remember taking the DAISY PETAL TEST sitting on a bench in the lunch arbor. I had a crush for weeks on a girl and holding a flower in my hand while looking across the table at her and saying as I pulled each petal off, “She loves me, She loves me not.” I also remember “the look” when she reached for the same flower, pulling off the last petal and said, “He loves me not.”
There’s a much better and more reliable way to know if God loves us!
It’s considering all that He does for us. And if there’s still any doubt, then think of what He did to SAVE us!
The Bible says that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
We can become confident in the knowledge of God’s unfailing LOVE because He has proven it beyond all question on the Cross. We have been reborn into the family of God as His children and the recipients of our Father’s LOVE.
THIS AMAZING LOVE MADE US CHILDREN OF THE KING!
This brings us to our second point:
#2. WHAT WILL WE BE? (verse 2)
The emphasis in verse two is on what the children of God will be in the future.
The reference here is, of course, to the time of Christ’s return for His Church. Having spoken of our present dignity as children of God, John now speaks of our FUTURE DESTINY.
We Are Privileged Children.
Our privileged opportunities in this world are understandable and within reach of all who will lay hold of them abiding in Christ Jesus. But, the reluctant glories in the world to come are still veiled. For the BLESSINGS there are connected with the RESPONSIBILITIES here! The fact that God expects future development as seen in verse one and then seen again in verse two, is where the beloved (“friends”) are addressed as CHILDREN OF GOD.
Child implies that future development is to be expected. A child has such potential as they grow. We look at them as children with hope and expectation but don’t know how they’ll turn out. Some who seem to have so much potential and opportunity throw away their lives. Others you didn’t think will amount to much accomplish great things.
So it is with the children of God. Many who are first will be last and many who are last will be first.
The appearance of Christ brings about changes or results in God’s children.
The results of Christ’s appearing is that we will be like Him. This future fact of being changed into Christ’s likeness is presently known. KNOW means “perceptive knowledge” that brings one to the point or place of understanding and then conviction. The fact that we KNOW now is because of the PROMISE given from the Word and the Holy Spirit in supporting our confidence in the truth of our future state,
A Butterfly Emerges!
What an amazing sight to see a Monarch Butterfly emerging from its cocoon and arraying the beautiful colors overs its wings before taking flight. Who would think that such beauty could come from a drab cocoon?
But a much greater miracle awaits the child of God!
Encased by this body, we look for that day when “the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.” (1 Cor. 15:52)
For now, we live in these earthly bodies, but not forever.
One day, perhaps soon, we will be made perfect and complete. We shall see our Savior face to face, and wonder of wonders, we shall be like Him!
God’s LOVE for us doesn’t stop with the New Birth.
God continues ministering to us and transforming us into His image until the revelation of Jesus causes the final, culminating revelation of who we are in Him.
Those Christ purchased at His Cross will be perfected at His coming.
#3. WHAT WE SHOULD BE (v. 3)
Verse 3 teaches us that if we hope in our transformation at the return of Jesus, then we should keep on, keeping on purifying our lives.
1 John 3:3 (NIV)
 Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
So, everyone who has the HOPE purifies, or frees oneself of contamination.
Purify ( Grk., hagmos), is the cleanliness of heart, soul, and spirit of thought, word, and action.
“Purifies himself” means that we must totally surrender to God, so that by His Grace (His unmerited favor), we may separate ourselves all that defiles us. It’s a continuous process.
Our Goals As A Believer…
Our goal should be pure just as Christ is pure. Not to judge our lives by other people, but by Jesus, who is the standard or goal toward which we are to move towards. God’s desire is that we are conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).
As we read the Gospels carefully and thoughtfully, prayerfully, then you will develop an appreciation for the character, integrity, wisdom, and strength of Jesus.
When I didn;\’t know as much about Jesus as I know now–and I’m still learning daily–. I wasn’t as impressed with Him as I am today.
All the work of transformation is because of the Father’s LOVE for you and me.
Because the Father loved us and sent His Son to die for us, we are children of God.
Because God loves us and lives within us, He wants us to live with Him one day.
SALVATION from start to finish is an expression of the LOVE of God. We are saved by the GRACE of God (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-15).
The provision for our SALVATION originated in the LOVE of God. And since we have experienced the LOVE of the Father, we should have no desire to live in sin (the “flesh”).
An unbeliever who sins is a creature sinning against his Creator. A Christian who sins is a child sinning against his Father. The unbeliever sins against the LAW; the believer sins against LOVE.
One Day The Trumpet Will Sound And We Will Ascend!!!
The time to get ready for that turmpet blast is now! Go to Christ Jesus and become PURE like Him. That will prepare you in making the ascent–to the glories of Heaven!
Is the hope of being like Jesus a powerful inspiration/motivation in your life? If it is, you will be purifying yourself as the Holy Spirit transforms your image of Christ.
Are you feeling perplexed by the questions…WHO AM I? WHERE AM I GOING?
What comfort it is as a TRUE BELIEVER in Christ to have God’s authoritative answers in the Bible:
WHO ARE WE?
John calls his readers “children of God” (v. 2).
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
John 14:1-6 tells us that one day He will receive us into our eternal home [body?] He is preparing for us.
When you know Jesus, you know who you are and where you are going
Dictionary: Know, Knowledge: Baker’s Evangrlical Dictionary of Bilical Theology.
Photos/Images: Google Image search.
A Butterfly Emerges: Youtube
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP), or as noted in images or text.