Saturday, 11 April 2020
And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 1 John 2:28
Here we begin a new section of thought with the words “and now.” Again, John calls his readers his “little children,” using the endearing word teknia. It is an address to all levels of ability and knowledge, but as if they were his own dear possession.
He next asks them to “abide in Him,” meaning Christ, which is certainly referring to keeping His commandments as is indicated in verse 6 and elsewhere, and by living in the love previously mentioned, such as in verse 10. In doing so, John says that “when He appears.” Some manuscripts say, “if He appears,” meaning in the stream of time, not in whether it will happen or not. In other words, it would be like saying, “If He comes today.” The change in texts from “when” to “if” does not substantially change the intent. Either way, the Lord is coming, and when that occurs – if we are abiding in Him – “we may have confidence.”
The Greek word is parrésia, or “boldness.” It is what one has when speaking in a public forum, openly and without shame or shying away. This particular word was used to note the free citizens who lived in Athens and who were permitted to speak in the assembly with confidence about whatever was on their mind. By abiding in Christ, there will be a boldness that the life lived in faith will have been well spent. Such will “not be ashamed before Him.”
The regret of not abiding in Christ will be made manifest in each believer who failed to abide in Him, and it will be made manifest in each non-believer who claimed they belonged to Him, but who did not abide in Him. John is obviously writing to believers (little children), and he is including himself in these words (we). Therefore, his words are directed most specifically to those who are believers, but who have not faithfully remained in Him as they should have. For them (is this applicable to any of us?), we shall be in a state of shame “before Him at His coming.”
John’s words, like those of the other apostles, and indeed Christ Himself, show that He really is coming again. It is not a dubious hope or promise, but it is the truth of God in Christ. He is coming, and we need to be ready at all times for His appearance. In this, we will be found acceptable for reward and not loss.
Life application: If we live for Christ Jesus in this life, we will be able to speak with complete confidence when we stand in His presence for judgment. However, if we fail to do these things we will be just like a child caught with his hand in the candy jar. We will feel the guilt and the remorse at being caught completely unready for the glory which He intends to bestow upon us.
As the wording of the rapture, which is explained by Paul, indicates no set time or day, it is no different than the moment of our death. It will happen when it happens, and it would be good for us to be about His business when the moment occurs in our lives.
Should we die doing something naughty, we will awaken ashamed of our last moment on earth. Likewise, if we are acting in an inappropriate way when He comes for His church, we will have been found to be living foolishly. As you live out your days, remember the cross of Jesus and what He endured to purchase you from this world. Live in a manner which is wholly fitting and honoring to Him.
Dear Lord, give us the sense and discernment to live properly until Your return. Let us be found living our lives in a pleasing manner which will bring a smile from You, and not a state of shame in us, when You call us home. This we ask that You will be glorified by the lives we lead. Amen.