Our heavenly Father encourages his children to put off sin by delivering strong warnings in Scripture (Hebrews 6:4–8; 10:26–31). But he also motivates us to put on holiness by drawing from our assurances, like in 1 John 3:2a–3:
we know that when he [Christ] appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
This assurance takes root in the life of a believer that is convinced that his or her future is bound inseparably to the presence of Christ. When we know that our personal future is wholly bound up in Christ, we strive to make purity a habit now.
And the passage is written to those who will purify themselves, which sounds a little odd at first. But this is true. The blood of Christ purifies us (1 John 1:7) and we purify ourselves (1 John 3:3). This is another way to say that we act the miracle of sanctification.
The point of 1 John 3:2–3 is brilliantly succinct. Our entire future is bound up with Christ. When we see our future in Him, he becomes for us the model of our holiness, the goal of our holiness, the end of our holiness, and the motivation for our holiness.
“You can’t put your hope in all that God promises to be for us in Christ and live like everyone else who depends on money, security, and prestige for contentment.”* No, we cannot, because our future is bound up with Christ. One day we shall see him face to face to be fully glorified. This future hope does not make us lazy; this future hope propels us to purity.
* John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Multnomah, 1997), 209.
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