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Family resemblance

And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children. See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 2 John 2:28-3:2

Maybe you’ve done it too. You meet someone for the first time and, as you talk, you keep looking at eyes, nose, and hair thinking surely you’ve met this person before. The person sees your perplexity and finally says, “Oh, I’m so-and-so’s brother” or “sister.” And you say, “Of course, you are; I can see the resemblance now that you mention it; but you’re a little taller, and your hair is a little darker, isn’t it?” If you know the parents, you might add, “Now, you look a little more like your mother than he does.” John’s admonition from the text is that we should be like Jesus. We should emulate the behavior and righteousness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is by His love that we were accepted as children of God. To know Christ is to accept that we do not have our own righteousness. People in the past settled on their own righteousness and rejected God’s. “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him” (John 1:10-11). Even though we are children of God, we don’t grasp the full significance of what it means to be God’s children. We now have only a dim perception of who we are and what we will be (what we will be has not yet been made known). When we see Jesus, our understanding will expand, and we will see it all. As 2 Corinthians 3:18 phrases it, “We … are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.” If we begin to understand the unimaginable wonder of this fact, we will want to live lives pleasing before God. But our weak commitment to this life that God desires for us is hindered by our dim perception of who Jesus is and who we have become in Him. When we grasp more fully that we are now coheirs with Jesus (see Rom. 8:17), destined to reign in heaven with Him, united in spirit with the Creator-God of the universe, we will no longer want to take for granted the life of Christ in us. One of our resources, then, in pursuing holiness is to ponder and meditate upon who Jesus is, who we have become when we see Him. Let us make it our goal to become more and more like Him so people can come to know Him through us and glorify the Father who is in heaven.


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