See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Behold what manner of love! God could bestow nothing more valuable than that we should be adopted into His family and permitted to regard Him as our Father. When we remember how insignificant we are as creatures, and how ungrateful, rebellious, and vile we have been as sinners, we may well be amazed at the love which would regard us as the children of the Most High. Matthew Henry writes, “Little does the world know of the happiness of the real followers of Christ. Little does the world think that these poor, humble, despised ones, are favourites of God, and will dwell in heaven. Let the followers of Christ be content with hard fare here, since they are in a land of strangers, where their Lord was so badly treated before them. The sons of God must walk by faith, and live by hope.”
John witnessed a glimpse of Christ’s true glory at the transfiguration, although surely the full glory was slightly obscured for the disciples to bear the sight. He had more knowledge than anyone alive of what purity and holiness would exist when his readers would be made like Christ. And yet he admonishes them to live as purely as Christ. “So all people who have this confidence in Christ keep themselves pure, as Christ is pure” (GNT). Of our own power we cannot keep ourselves pure, but the power of the Spirit in us transforms us daily into the image of Christ. If we walk with God, He will not allow anything unholy to continue in our lives.
So many times we live in a manner according to the world, at times even justifying our actions as making us more available to share the gospel. But if we are truly living as Christ, the world will notice there is something different about us. Unbelievers will not understand our source of joy, our moral standards, and the reasons behind our conduct. At times people may not react in a positive manner and may regard us as fanatics – giving up worldy pleasures for some imaginary future gain. Bur our hope is not in worldly praise. We look towards full sanctification – being made fully like him when at last we see him. And while we wait we purify ourselves daily, asking for cleansing forgiveness when needed and striving to become perfect as He is perfect.