Living in Light of Easter

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him. See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
— 1 John 2:28–3:3, NASB95

The resurrection of Christ marks the beginning of the end for this passing world. Jesus is the first fruits of the New Creation, the first born from among the dead (Colossians 1:18). This New Creation has already begun in the Christian. “If any man be in Christ,” the Apostle says, “He is New Creation!” We are inwardly (and only in part) what we will one day be outwardly, and in the totality of our being. The Christian can therefore no longer live with a business as usual attitude towards this world, any more than passengers on the ill-fated Titanic could do so one second after the iceberg.

What does this mean for us on Monday morning?

First, it means we must focus on cultivating our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are to abide in Him (1John 2:28). Like little children, for whom the home place marks the reference point of life (how often at the end of a shopping trip, and sometimes at its beginning, our little ones cry, “I want to go home!), so for the Christian, fellowship with Jesus Christ should be home place of our souls (Psa 84:5). Amongst other things, this means you cannot afford to sideline the Church in your weekly schedule. Here, more than any other place on earth, Jesus Christ has promised to meet you. If we are not regular in our meetings with Him on earth, we may find our meeting with Him on the last day to be a little uncomfortable – at least at the beginning (1John 2:28).

Second, we should expect the world to regard us as aliens (1John 3:1). The world, which is a Johannine term for human society living life without and against God (1John 2:15-17), did not receive Jesus. You should not expect a more favorable reaction! All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2Tim 3:12).

Third, we should live life looking forward to the Day of His appearing. Can an engaged girl forget the day of her impending marriage? Impossible! So, we should live looking forward to the coming of Christ, the Day when we will bid goodbye to all our burdens, all our sins, all our shame forever. On that day, we will be transformed by the sight of Christ. He will look lovelier than anything we have ever seen, and we will be left just as lovely from the sight (1John 3:2).

Fourth, we will take care to purify ourselves from all sin (1John 3:3). For the Christian, living in sin is to embrace the old life, the way things were before we met Christ. Like Israel in the wilderness, looking back is to live in the doubt, “Perhaps life was better in Egypt with all those lovely things. Sure, we didn’t have God with us then as now, but life was good. We want to go back home!” This mindset mars the soul of the backslider with compromise. Like the Roman God Janus, He is Mr. Look-both-ways. He wants to look forward to heaven, but he finds himself constantly looking back to the earth. To such a mindset, Jesus issues a sober warning, “Remember Lot’s wife.” With these words, Jesus holds up this woman as an eternal example to us all. It is often the little things that tell the story of a soul. Lot’s wife was no murderer, no adulterous, no thief, no liar, but the glance of her eye revealed the GPS coordinates of her soul. Physically she was on her way out of town, but, spiritually, her soul was back home with her friends about to suffer the judgment of God. She looked back. How simple the act, how hard the undoing; God had seen all He needed to see.

How this should search all our hearts! Where does God see you looking back to the world that is passing away? Do not for a moment comfort yourself with thoughts like, “Well that was the Old Testament.” God has not changed; otherwise why would Jesus have warned us not to forget her example. So, let us press on, lift our eyes, and look for the blessed hope and appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the One who gave Himself for us to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14). Let us look to Him and abide in Him, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

Christ Covenant Church