1John 2:28 And now, little
children, take up a lifestyle abiding in Him,
that when He should appear at some point in time,
we may be characteristically confident and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
As mentioned previously, this "abiding" regards salvation. This
is the same command as verse 24. (see http://www.bcbsr.com/books/1jnss_2_19-27.html)
To shrink back in shame at his coming indicates one is not saved, as it says in Heb 10:37-39 "For in just a very little while, 'He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.' (Hab 2:4 LXX) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved."
Jesus said, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Fatherís glory with the holy angels." Mr 8:38
Furthermore the Greek word for "confident" indicates "freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech", much as Jesus said, "whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven." Mt 10:32,33
Thus what constitutes legitimate faith in Christ is not the
"secret" faith of the rulers of John 12:42 who "believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they
would not confess their faith for fear they would be put
out of the synagogue" Rather, saving faith confidently
1John 2:29 If you have perceived
that He is righteous,
you know that everyone who practices righteousness as their lifestyle has been born of Him.
While there is a positional righteousness we receive from Christ,
which is namely the forgiveness of sins, yet there is also a
righteous behavior characteristic of children of God. What is
righteous behavior but simply doing what is right in the eyes of
God. True that most people do what they consider right in their
own eyes, as Proverbs says, "All a manís
ways seem right to him." Pr 21:2 But to do
what is right in the eyes of God is another matter. For "the way of a fool seems right to him, but a
wise man listens to advice." Pr 21:15 How do we
determine what is right in God's eyes? In cooperation with the
Spirit of God through the Word of God in fellowship with the
people of God.
Here practicing righteousness is speaking of the characteristic lifestyle of those born of God. This is not to say that such people do not uncharacteristically sin from time to time.
"has been born" - the perfect tense indicates that righteous
living is not simply an indication of one's state at the moment,
but rather of one's past state which has continued up to the
present. This in contrast to those who view "born of God" as a
moment by moment status, varying according to one's behavior.
1John 3:1 Perceive what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us,
that we should be called children of God!
Therefore the world characteristically does not know us,
because it did not know Him. (John 1:10)
It was gracious enough that Christ died for our sins so as to reconcile us to God, but to go beyond that and give us the status of children of God is really over the top! Of course sonship is limited to those who have faith in Christ. "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" Gal 3:26 And "to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" John 1:12
"Now if we are children, then we are heirsó heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" Rom 8:17
Yet just as the world did not recognize the Son of God so also
the world does not recognize the sons of God. But the theme of
1John is that, having known the Father, we can recognize those who
have been born of God. And this principle is not limited simply to
discerning your own salvation status.
Likewise you will find false Christians misindentifying those who
have been born of God. We see this kind of irony on a grand scale
when countries like Iran claim the US is the great Satan. Or more
generally you'll find Muslims reckon themselves as the righteous
while categorically condemning Christians as unrighteous.
So when you feel others have misindentified you as unsaved, you may not only want to examine yourself on the matter (2Cor 13:5), but also take a look at them. For it is not uncharacteristic for those not born of God to misindentify those who have been born of God.
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Is 5:20
1John 3:2,3 Beloved, now we
are children of God;
and at this point in time it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
but we have perceived that when He is revealed at some point, we shall be like Him,
for we shall see Him as He is for ourselves.
And everyone who has this hope in Him characteristically purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Likewise Peter writes, "Since you are
looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless,
blameless and at peace with him." 2Pet 3:14 And
Paul, after speaking of scripture which promises, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my
sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty", says, "Since we have these promises, dear friends, let
us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and
spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." 2Cor
Christ is the pattern, the image of what we are to become.
1.So if you want to be motivated to seek holiness, keep in mind your final destiny.
2. If a person isn't purifying themselves, that may be indicative that they don't believe. (In other words another indicator of whether one has been born of God is by whether they are purifying themselves) "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Ga 5:24
Better yet, going back to 1John 2:18 as to not being ashamed with
regards to Christ's return, ask yourself if Christ returned now,
what would you be ashamed of. What have you been doing of which
you'd be ashamed? And what have you been neglecting to do?
The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources