I AM the God who makes my children like me 1 Jn 2:28-3:10

“After His kind”

On the last three days of the creation week, God made the vegetation and the animals to

We are a chip off the old block

We are a chip off the old block

reproduce “after their kind”.  When God made Mankind he originally made them in his image and likeness as far as the qualities and characteristics of their person-hood, thus in essence they were made “after God’s kind” (except for His supernatural qualities).  God told them to multiply and fill the earth, thus their offspring were then “after their kind” even in their fallen state all mankind is born after Adam’s fallen kind.   In this passage we see that God is calling true believers – His children.  Only God can make sinful man to be like himself in true righteousness (imputed Righteousness) because of the work of Christ on their behalf.  Believers are born again of his Holy Spirit as John indicates in his Gospel, in other words, they are remade once again “after His kind” in their inner man 2 Cor 5:17 as “new creatures”, given the “divine nature” and placed in Christ in God. 

Children of God

1 John 2:28And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

3   How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our trademark question below in the following way…

 Who are you Lord?

I AM the God who saves you legally, practically and one day – ultimately.  Legally, I paid for your sin debt.  Practically, I have dealt with the power of the evil one so that you are not under his control any more; you are not slaves to sin.  Ultimately, I promised that I will remove you from sin’s presence one day.  Just as I AM the God who came to Earth to remove you from the penalty of sin; so too, I AM the God who will come again to remove you from its presence as well.  In the mean time, you need faith.  Faith like the Children of Israel had to have while they waited for my first appearing.  I AM the Faithful God who always does what I promise to do –Thus, I came.

I AM the Holy God; no sin can be in my presence.  I set the penalty of sin at nothing less than death and separation from me.  However, I AM the God of Love and thus only I can pay for your sin perfectly which I did in Jesus Christ on the cross.  This is why I turned my back on the Son while he hung there and separated myself from him for the first time in eternity and sent him to hell for you.

Having dealt properly with your sin through Jesus, in my Love for you, I extend an invitation to you to become my children by faith and dependence upon my graciousness.  I have destroyed the chains that bound you to serving Satan and sin.  I have placed my Holy Spirit in those who believe in me, so that they might live victoriously over sin and selfishness.  In righteousness and freedom men can now live in love for others.

I know that my children will stumble and fall on occasion possibly even daily.  But know that my salvation has removed their sins from them as far as the east is from the west.  My mercies are new every morning.  The difference is that they cannot enjoy their sin as unbelievers do.  My Spirit in them will see that they become miserable to the point of confession, repentance and restoration to fellowship with me.

Sanctification is a lifelong process

The whole point of my blog and all of the posts there in, is found in vs 2,3 “…we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.As we know God, we allow his Spirit to change our thinking into the likeness of Christ which then should affect our decisions and consequently our actions.  Knowing His Word is the same as knowing him and his thoughts.  Letting his thoughts control our thinking will change our lifestyle.  That is what Christianity is about.  The culmination as stated in verse 2 “when he appears we shall be like him” is simply taking this action to its logical and ultimate conclusion which Christ promises to do for us.  Salvation is not an end; it is just the starting point from where we are sanctified throughout our lives which ends in our glorification at Christ’s return.

Internal change not external conformance

There are many who try to be good from without as a work of the flesh from the power of self righteousness and by the obedience of traditions and rules.  However they cannot last and they definitely cannot please God, for God sees the heart of each human to see his motives.  Thus God reveals his glory to the world by changing our selfish human desires into his likeness from within, not by way of external laws to conform us.  Those who have the Spirit within them are changed from the inside out and even though they fall on occasion, they can get back up by the power of the Spirit within them.

Three aspects of our salvation and how we are to respond

  1. vs 5 we are saved from the penalty of sin;  thus our response is that in gratitude we will choose God over our desire to sin; He gives us a godly hatred for our sin and thus we choose to forsake it.
  2. vs 8 we are saved from the power of sin;  thus our response is that since Satan cannot force us to sin any more, we have authority over him now in Christ to stand and resist him and his temptations.
  3. vs 2 we will be saved from the presence of sin ultimately; our response until then is that we have the hope that one day we will be like him finally but now as his spirit fills us, we can have his presence and power to be like him as he conforms us into his image Rom 8:29.

In the meantime, we are buffeted and persecuted and harassed by hardships, temptations and trials.  These are meant to give us opportunity to express our new image in Christ to the world.  Like I always say, “Anyone can act like a Christian when life is easy”.  It is when we are in the fiery furnace that the Christ life shines through our clay exterior to reveal the Divine life within us.  Without temptation there is no opportunity for victory.  Without the battle, there is no victor’s crown.  Without the night, there is no brilliant day break.  Unless you are surrounded by Indians, the cavalry’s bugle blast of imminent rescue won’t sound so sweet.

Why doesn’t God just destroy Satan now?

Since this passage mentions that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work, you might ask then why doesn’t God just destroy him completely and get it over with.  Have you ever heard the question: “If God is almighty, why is there all the needless suffering in the world?”  Here is one explanation that I have recently read; there is no “needless suffering”.  Satan has reasons for all “needless suffering”.  Satan is the cause of all grief in the world in order to get man to turn his back on God, he places the thought within our hearts to “blame God” for the all the hardships found in this world.  God on the other hand allows him to do his dirty work so that man can exercise his free will and faith through the trials resulting in their ultimate reward one day.   Life without trials means no need for faith and thus no future reward or glory to God for his grace in our lives to help us endure.

Faith is more important than life itself

You could say that faith is more important than life.  Do you remember the man born blind?  Through their cultural grid, the disciples thought that either his parents or he himself sinned causing his blindness.  Jesus said “neither, but it was so that the power of God might be displayed in him”, and thus Jesus healed him.  Or Lazarus who was allowed to die so that the Son would be glorified by what he planned to do.  Without Satan, there are no hardships, and without hardships there is nothing to bring us to an end of our self to rely on God by faith.  Without faith there is no salvation, reward or future glory.  Ultimately for free will to exist there needs to be a choice, a conflict of faith which requires an alternative to God’s Word which Satan is all too eager to provide.  Your choice will determine how you live, and your ultimate destination.  The only reason that God has not destroyed Satan is that when he does, no more people can come to faith.  “God is not willing that any should perish but all come to everlasting life.”  There are still many who have not heard of the Gospel of Christ yet, and will spend eternity in hell.  The sooner that the full number of Gentiles is reached, the sooner he will return to earth to eradicate Satan and that will be the end of this age of grace. By wishing God would destroy Satan is to end the opportunities for your unsaved loved ones to come to salvation.

More to come,

Steve

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About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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