Thanks to God our Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for blessing me this morning, while reading in I John; where I was led to consider once again the HOPE we have in looking forward to the Day of Christ’s return. What a DAY that will be? Let us consider 1 John 3:1-3 (NASB)
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Though I normally study and quote from the NKJV, this passage was inserted using the NASB translation. The reason is for a particular word used to describe the focus we are to have, in receiving the gift of HOPE (in Christ’s return), that keeps on giving. That word, in verse three, is “fixed”.
In the first-place, regard with me the often overlooked blessing of Abba’s love for us, in our disconnectedness, when times are tough… “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called the children of God”.
Remember that this verse was written to those under intensifying persecution. The purpose of the Holy Spirit was to remind them to love one another and to remember the benefits of being in Christ. These benefits do not guarantee an alteration of the temporary and intense trials of our walk; but are to fill us with grace and power to endure until the Day of Christ’s return for us.
Gladly we find that being a child of God in Jesus Christ, comes with a bestowment of God’s love that can be described as a continual and overflowing tangible manifestation of God’s love and His presence. It is a love feast we can continue to dine from, so long as we do not lose our perspective and focus.
Herein is the problem: When our life and circumstances are well and to our liking, we can say praise God and sing songs proclaiming “I am a child of God”, without ever really partaking of His bestowment of love. Why is this the case? Because in good times of material prosperity or happier circumstances, we often have a diminished desire for eternity with Christ. We often lose our focus because we have a little heaven here on earth (though that is not really the case).
When do we learn to live in the blessing of His love bestowed on us, as His children? When times are not good, where the temporary stings us enough and consistently to remind us of the promise of Christ’s return; as well as raising our desire to see Him face to face.
The true tell on tangible faith in Christ, is can we sing with confidence “I am a Child of God, when in times of persecution, trial or tribulation? If we are not careful, in disconnectedness and times of despair, we will focus solely on praying to improve our circumstances; rather than beholding the manner of love our Father pours out on us continually.
Taking that path only leads to more despair and moves us away from what is our only true HOPE. This HOPE will never disappoint, strengthen us in times of trial, and fill us with joy to overcome our pain. Living in times of perpetual and rising difficulty for the saint of God, takes a “fixed” and undeterred gaze on our HOPE.
The HOPE I am writing of is revealed in I John 3:2-3…
“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
This passage reveals the hope that will never disappoint and as Jesus Himself endured the cross and its shame, by joy set before Him; we endure trouble, pain, and persecution by the joy that comes from our focus on meeting Christ face to face. But this focus must be a fixation, which means to place your eyes on something as a guiding point of reference, not just consistently, but always.
In this understanding, Let’s cosider a ship tossed about in a hurricane-like storm. The captain and crew have one point of reference on the horizon as they approach the shoreline, a lighthouse. Seeing the lighthouse in the distance for the first time, gives the captain and crew a lifting in spirit, during despairing and dire circumstances. Therefore, they line their approach up with the lighthouse. Keeping their eyes fixated on its light, they refuse to let go of their course, whether battered with waves or wind, they hold onto their hope. There is no crew member who lacks sobriety, but all are alert and enabling the others to keep their gaze on the light, which is their only HOPE.
This is like the fixation we need to execute, in order to gain the blessing of our hope, as children of God.
Let us first recognize God did not save us, that we would float to heaven on flowery beds of ease.
Let us once and for all declare that the prosperity gospel non-sense pervading Christianity in America, is scripture twisting non-sense; a clever misdirection from the enemy of our souls.
Let us embrace being redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, which means we are born again into the Valley of the Shadow of Death (where our lives are not our own, where our comfort is Christ Himself, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
Let us fully embrace that the storms we face, if living godly in Christ Jesus, are allowed by our Father that we may learn to fix our HOPE on seeing Jesus face to face (this is the only hope that will never disappoint).
Let us also understand that being fixated on that great Day where we see Jesus as He is, is our motivation and fuel for being sanctified (being pure even as Christ Himself is pure).
Our God and Father has lavished His love on us, through the cross and resurrection of the Jesus Christ the Son of God. He pours this love out through being present with us, by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14-16). In union with the Holy Sprint we groan for that great Day, when we see Jesus face to face. This hope is to be our fixation, fountain of joy, river of cleansing and desire we delight in.
Until He comes… Look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.