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. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
As we anticipate Christ’s return, we should be reminded of things that will help us prepare for that great day. This is what John is describing from the text. We need to be sure that we belong to the family of God. John says that Christ will return for those whom the “Father loves” and “calls his children.” John recorded the conversation the Lord Jesus Christ had with Nicodemus and Jesus told Nicodemus how he gets saved. “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). All through John’s gospel, salvation is experiencing new birth in Christ. “To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Paul’s prayer for those who have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior is that they will understand “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep…the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully” (Ephesians 3:18-19). We did not earn the love of God for it is given to us. This love was manifested at the cross when God reached down to us so that our sins will be forgiven. Knowing that we are His children, we must bear His Name. God wants us to reflect Him in our lives, conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ our Lord (see Romans 8:29). God will create in us the mind of Christ so we will live following His example. God will continue to work His will in our lives so that when He returns for us, we will be “pure, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). God will completely eliminate the old sinful nature for it does not fit in heaven. This is what the Psalmist is looking forward to, “Because I am righteous, I will see you. When I awake, I will see you face to face and be satisfied” (Psalm 17:15). What makes heaven Heaven is the presence of God for that is what satisfies our soul. And as Paul said, though life now may be hard and difficult, he will continue to serve God as long as God wants him but his heart longs “to go and be with Christ, which would be far better” (Philippians 1:23). Ira Sankey always provides the song during the evangelistic crusade conducted by Dwight L. Moody. One of the hymns Sankey loves to sing is “Christ Returneth!” by H. L. Turner. It is a hymn that challenges Christians to anticipate Christ’s return while living their lives for His glory.
“It may be at morn, when the day is awaking, when sunlight thru darkness and shadow is breaking, that Jesus will come in the fullness of glory to receive from the world His own.
It may be at mid-day; it may be at twilight; it may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight will burst into light in the blaze of His glory, when Jesus receives His own.
O joy! O delight should we go without dying, no sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying, caught up thru the clouds with our Lord into glory, when Jesus receives His own.
Chorus: O Lord Jesus, how long, how long ere we shout the glad song—Christ returneth! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen, Hallelujah! Amen.”