Transformation Now and Later
2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
In the beginning of chapter three, John introduces an eschatological perspective. Eschatology is the study of the end times. In the Christian scripture, the end times have a distinctly “already” but “not yet” paradox. That is, in Jesus, we already have access to the righteousness and eternal living that we will experience in heaven. However, at the same time there are many qualities of that same heavenly righteousness that we will not get to experience until Jesus returns to earth.
The author John knows this from first hand experience. He was an eyewitness of Jesus’ resurrected body after He rose from the grave. John knows what the glory of a resurrected body can be like because He saw just a small glimpse of it displayed by Jesus. When we lock eyes with Jesus when He returns again to heaven, John suggests that His glory will be so great that we won’t be able to help but to be completely transformed and purified by it. This is exciting! But what does that mean for today? What does that mean for us as children of God right this second?
John explains that this isn’t just about our transformed bodies and appearance at the end of time. We will not only look pure, but our very actions and soul will be purified. Our hope in this shouldn’t leave us waiting around for the “not yet” part of our purity, but should call us to action “already.” This promise for our future is so sure and so glorious, that our hope in it has the power to purify our actions here on earth. This purification process is both “not yet” fully revealed, yet “already” revealed at the same time.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. How are you “already” pure?
2. How are you “not yet” pure?
Dear God, we look forward to the day when you return. Please let us be ready for your return every day by living in purity. Amen.