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Dave spoke last Sunday about the fact that we are children of God now (1 John 3:1-3). This is not just a future aspiration for us all, but is something which utterly transforms our way of thinking and living. John, writing this letter towards the end of his life, has preached, taught and encouraged Christians for well over half a century, but writes once again with passion and emotion as he stops to ponder the love of the Father
A right vision of God is essential if we are to live as He wants us to live, secure in the love He has for us. Being born of God and understanding what this means is essential to us.
1. The Nature of True Conversion & Spiritual Life
John emphasises that conversion begins when we are born of God and thus become children of God (see also John 3:1-16). Being a child of God is not simply a label for us to wear (the way we may be proud of being from Yorkshire, for example), but a daily, living truth: God’s seed impregnating our life with the very life of God. This is something that should cause us to gaze in wonder and awe at God!
2. Seeing and Loving Jesus is Related To Holiness
Whilst the world doesn’t understand who we are and how we live, the fact we have seen the beauty and wonder of God in the face of Jesus Christ radically changes how we live. Full holiness may not be available until we see Jesus as He is (1 John 3:2), but the more we gaze on Jesus, the more we are changed into His likeness. Our desires change (see 1 John 2:15-17) and the fleeting pleasures of sin become more pathetic in our eyes. The vision of Jesus removes our gullibility and transforms us (2 Cor 3:18).
3. The Transformation Begins Now!
John reminds us we have a hope of being like Jesus which becomes our focus throughout life. When we are with Jesus, we will no longer have to live with our spiritual weaknesses and compromises, drawn to the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the pride in our possessions. We will be completely satisfied and gloriously happy, but it’s hypocritical to pretend that this is our ultimate desire if we do not want to be like Jesus now as well. We have to set our lives in the direction of being like Christ now with growing anticipation. As we fix our eyes not only on a better world but being a better person, we realise that the fact we are children of God now (not just in the future) transforms our daily living here on earth. What we are determines what we become!