“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” I John 3:2.
There is little to go on here so we do not really know what we will be like when Christ returns for His own, for that is what is meant by, “…when He is revealed”, a reference to the rapture of the church.
We can draw some conclusions though. When the Apostle John came face to face with the risen glorified Christ he said this about it.
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” Revelation 1:17a.
This is the same John who laid his head on Jesus’ breast during the last Passover supper.
“Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke [Jesus spoke of Judas, His betrayer]. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved [John]. Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke. Then, leaning back on Jesus’ breast, he said to Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’” John 13:22-25.
This is something that those of a reprobate mind like to snicker over, yet it is no different from a child leaning against his father’s breast. God our Father invites us to do the same with Him.
But why did John with his obvious familiarity with Jesus suddenly react so differently with Christ glorified? Surely it must have been due to His changed countenance. He described Jesus as follows.
“…One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two – edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Revelation 1:13b-16.
While much of this is picture language to indicate certain characteristics, such as the sword coming out of His mouth, it does give us an idea of the extreme difference there will be between what we are now and what we shall be.
If you study Revelation you will see that the different aspects of the description of Christ such as the eyes as a flaming fire, feet like fine brass, and the sword coming out of His mouth are applied to each of the letters to the seven churches.
The Christian can expect to see the glorified Christ without many of the things mentioned above. For instance, we will not see Him with a sword protruding from His mouth, we will not see eyes like a flame of fire, nor will we see brazen feet which suggest judgment.
We will see a loving savior, who has come to take us to the home that He has promised us.
“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2-3.
His countenance will indeed, shine as the brightness of the sun. This has happened before on the Mount of Transfiguration where the disciples were given a preview of Jesus’ glory.
“…and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” Matthew 17:2.
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” Mark 9:2-3.
It can only be assumed that the form of the Lord will be much as we have seen here, and we will be like Him. However being like Him is not just in form only and in a glorious form at that, but we will be like Him in love, righteousness, justice, humility, kindness, integrity, all the things we can only desire to be here, yet cannot attain or even fully comprehend.
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” I Corinthians 13:12.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord [Jesus] from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” I Corinthians 15:42-50.
The Lord Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, and when it is time, He will return for us and we shall be changed into His glorious likeness, in a moment, a twinkling of an eye. When that day comes, an extraordinary opportunity will be gone forever; the privilege of serving God unseen, by sheer faith alone.
“And everyone who has this hope in Him [Jesus] purifies himself, just as He is pure.” I John 3:3.
“And everyone who has this hope in Him…” what is this hope? Again, we have to look at our opening verse in this study.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2.
The hope then is since we are children of God we have the promise not only that Christ will return for His own but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye into His glorious form.
We will not all be mini-Jesus’, but we will have glorified bodies like His own and we will be recognizable to each other.
Hinduism teaches that eventually all souls will flow into something like a cosmic stream becoming one with the godhead. Man loses his identity.
God loves us as individuals and He has promised to have a relationship with us, you and I, as His own children, that relationship begins the moment we accept Jesus as our savior.
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21.
This goes for all mankind; He considers all of men’s ways. No one slips under the radar, God is omniscient and omnipresent. He is all-knowing and present everywhere among the good and the bad.
“I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:10.
“…even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings”, men’s thoughts and actions, good or bad, will receive the same back.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:7.
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself…” 1 John 3:3a. Along with hope comes responsibility.
“…purifies himself” indicates an action on our part, a determination. Some think that getting saved is just buying the fire insurance and going on with your life. This is false thinking.
God desires more of us. He says this in the book of Hebrews.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:12-14.
“…He [Jesus] died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15.
It has been stated numerous times here that Christian growth is not a matter of getting up in the morning and deciding to keep the Ten Commandments today. That will only cause frustration.
Rather it is part of a relationship with Jesus, a relationship which consists in taking everything to Him in prayer, having a quiet time with Him as you read your Bible and pray, and listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you through the Scriptures.
It is also a relationship, a fellowship, with other Christians, and worship in a Bible believing church.
Scripture tells us that we are a new creature in Christ Jesus. Our spirits are renewed and forever lifted out of the muck of sin.
Our flesh on the other hand is subject to its own desires both good and bad. Our souls, unfortunately, our conscious part, the part you are thinking and reasoning with now as you read this is pretty wishy washy and is in the habit of going with the desires of the flesh.
Trouble is the desires of the flesh are not always bad, coffee, a juicy steak, fish, pizza, glass of wine, sex, cigarettes, drinking parties, drugs, illicit sex, anger, rape, murder!
So then the first six items when used legitimately are up to our own discretion. The latter seven items are destructive, to highly destructive and evil.
This is why it was quoted earlier:
“But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14.
By studying the Scriptures one can know which of the fleshly desires listed earlier are good or evil. When we know these things we are better equipped to either “feed the flesh and starve the spirit, or to feed the spirit and starve the flesh”.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit [Holy Spirit], the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally [fleshly] minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8.
Some of these fleshly things are habits that we can give up, others are those we may cling to or find it difficult to give up. These are things that cause God to allow trials to come into our lives to cure us of sinful practices or desires.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [mature] and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4.
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:13-15.
The practice of righteousness then is God’s desire, and is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
However it is our free will given over to the desire to purify ourselves for our love of the Lord Jesus, and in the anticipation of seeing Him as He is, and being like Him.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8.
We Shall Be Like Him, 1 John 3:2-3 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 12-8-11, updated on 6-9-18.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.