“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. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children”
(1 John 2:28-29, NLT).
(1 John 2:28-29, NLT).
The Apostle John urges us to live continually (“remain”) with Jesus Christ as we wait for His return. John here uses the expression to describe the return or visit of a king. Just as an earthly king makes appearances to his subjects, so Jesus Himself the King of Kings will make a final appearance visibly and personally, powerful and with authority to everyone on earth. Are you ready?
The Scriptures talk about two reactions that people will have to the second coming of Christ. First, some people will be ashamed. They are those who are not ready for His coming. Maybe they do not really believe in Christ or that He will return. Maybe they had heard the words of Truth again and again but just were not able to follow it. Maybe they were doing wrong. So they are caught off-guard or feel guilty for their lack of faith (read Matthew 22:11-12; Revelation 6:15-17). That is how some people will respond when Christ returns. People have been told again and again to be ready for this great event. Even though we are not to sit around and relax and think only about Christ’s coming, we are to keep busy for God’s Kingdom with one eye out for what is to come. Some people will be embarrassed or ashamed because of their lack of faith.
Other people will be able to respond with “full of courage” and “not ashamed” – confidence. The Scriptures tell us that we need not approach God with fear (of guilty and embarrassment) anymore. As “God’s children” we can be bold in sharing our feelings and needs with Him (read Hebrews 4:16; 10:19). If we obey God we will grow in our confidence to live as the people God wants us to become. Overcoming our fear is certainly an important part of our growth as believers. Only “remain in fellowship with Christ” and know that “Christ is righteous.”
And then, John reminds us that we can prove that we “remain in fellowship with Christ” by the way we live. The proof of this fellowship is not merely our having right beliefs but showing loving actions as well. What we need to remember is that our loving actions (righteous acts) – “do what is right” – are the evidence, not the cause of our salvation in Christ. There are certainly people who believe that if we just live a little better we will be closer to God and be Christians. No! Jesus made it very clear that our actions do not save us – it is our faith that makes the difference (read Romans 3:27; Ephesians 2:8-10). But a natural and spontaneous outgrowth of our “fellowship with Christ” is the kind of living which reflects God’s love and is pleasing to God. Thus, John writes, “We know that all who do what is right are God’s children.” Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.