Saturday, February 07, 2015

No need for shame - 1 John 2:28-29

"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." (1 John 2:28-29)
The good new is that Jesus is coming again to take us home to be with Him forever. The bad new is that we don't know when that will be. Jesus warned us, "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (Luke 12:40) For some, there will be joy on that day, but for others, their will be repentance for the life they had lived and weeping for the life they could have lived. John contrasts the two emotions of that day in the words "confidence" and "shame". The Greek word for "confidence" means to be "blunt, out-spoken, and frank". It implies that one is free from all worry of rebuke, censure, and judgment and therefore can use boldness and frankness in their speech and behavior. On the contrary, the word for "shame" comes from a word that means "disfigurement" and implies one who is ashamed of how they look and of who they are. This verse also implies a shrinking away from the one before whose gaze we are ashamed to stand. On that day, some will have boldness, not fearing any examination of their lives, while others will shrink back knowing the darkness that they carried and nurtured inside, darkness they refused to extricate and surrender to the Lord while they still had time.

In light of this truth, Peter asks us, "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" (2 Peter 3:11-12) What sort of people ought we to be? Or to put it another way, how should live our lives now in light of the coming end of all things? Jesus told many parables to teach us to be ready and prepared for that day, including the parable of the Ten Virgins. Jesus says that "five of them were foolish, and five were prudent" (Matthew 25:2) in that five were prepared for the case that the bridegroom might delay, in case he might come when they did not expect him. In the end, only five were ready for his coming and five were not and the five foolish ones were turned out. "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you'." (Matthew 25:11-12)

The key to being ready for that day is in abiding in Christ today. This idea of abiding in Christ is unique to the Apostle John and he mentions it in his Gospel and his letters. But what does it mean to abide in Him? Jesus taught us, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me... If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you... If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love." (John 15:4, 7, 10) To abide in Christ is to live a life that in no way offends Him or leads to separation between us and Him. John will later say, "The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him." (1 John 3:24) To abide in Christ is to let He word abide in us and to let it transform us into His image. He is Righteous, therefore those who abide in Him will should also, over time. express that same righteousness though their lives.

Our confidence on that day will be the knowledge that we have lived the life He has called us to live. That, leading up to that day, we have shared in His image and likeness and that there remains no darkness by which we might be ashamed before His all searching light. The way we live our lives day by day are preparing us for His return , whether it be soon or delayed. May we be found ready and so say with all the saints, "Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20)

David Robison

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