Has anyone ever told you, “You look just your father?” or “I’d know you anywhere—you look just like your brother”? When we hear those words, we realize there must be a family resemblance that we can’t avoid. That’s often true of the way we act, as well as the way we look. Remind your kids to stay out of trouble, since their actions reflect on your last name.
How much more important to reflect well on the name of our heavenly family! John reminds us that we who have trusted in Jesus are “God’s children” (2:1, 21, 28; 3:1-2, 7, 10). He says we are “born of God” (3:9). See also John 1:12.
In today’s passage John makes an amazing statement that when Jesus returns we will really take on a family resemblance because we’re going to be just like him. He writes, “When Christ appears, we shall be like him” (v. 2).
At that glorious time, he says, “We shall see him as he is.” We can hardly imagine what that will be like. We’ve read of Jesus in the Gospels, so we know something of his life, miracles, and saving work; but what did he look like? We just don’t know. And is it really all that important? Our being like him probably has very little to do with outward appearance.
Perhaps there’s a hint about what it means to be like him at the end of verse 3: “All who have this hope (of being just like him) … will keep themselves pure just as he is pure.” As we live here until he appears, we are to walk in purity. How? By walking in the Spirit, walking in love, walking in the light, walking in the truth, and walking in obedience (all direct teachings in the epistles).
As people of hope (v. 3) we are encouraged by the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Can people see our hope and the family resemblance in our daily walk?