1 John 2: 28 – 3: 3 NLT
“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.
29 Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.
3 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. 2 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. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
John talks about Christ’s second coming. This is an event that God’s children can look forward to. Stop for a moment and think about this phrase – “he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” Think about family relationships. I know that over years family relationships can become strained, but let’s think back to those earlier years – preschool and elementary school years. Remember looking at your children after they fell asleep at night, and feeling that overwhelming sense of love and thankfulness for that little one? Remember those times when they fell and scraped their knees or arms, or even broke a bone – remember how protective you were. How you empathized so strongly to the point of feeling their pain too? Remember Christmas mornings or birthdays when they opened their gifts, and you were so happy to see their excited faces? That is the relationship God has with us. He marvels at his creation, he feels our pain, he rejoices with our successes. Someday we’ll be together in heaven and that will be the most exciting time of our lives as we are with our Heavenly Father.
John mentions that we should live today in the expectation of that day. That means “all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” Again, remember your younger years. Remember how important and confident your felt when your parents praised you for something you had done? Remember times when you went out of your way to do something that you knew would make your parents happy? That is the relationship we have with God. It’s a love relationship and we know to keep it flourishing we need to treat it with respect. John will continue this idea in tomorrow’s devotions.
Today, let’s look at some verses that talk about Jesus’ second coming – the event we look forward to. As we get older, I suspect we anticipate it more, but even as a young person who still looks forward to life here on planet earth, knowing there is a wonderful future ahead is a foundation to build this life on.
In Matthew 24, Jesus describes the end time before he returns and what it will be like on that wonderful day. Here are two of the verses from that chapter.
Matthew 24:30-31 (NLT)
“And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world – from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.”
Paul describes the Jesus’ second coming in two places:
1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT)
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NLT)
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.”
If you want more detail about the second coming, read what John wrote in Revelation, chapters 19 to 22. To close I thought I’d include some verses about heaven – that destination we look forward to:
Revelation 21:22 to 22: 5 (NLT)
“I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. 24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. 25 Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. 26 And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city. 27 Nothing evil will be allowed to enter, nor anyone who practices shameful idolatry and dishonesty—but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”
Our song for today is I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me: