1 John 3:2-8 (NLT)
Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. 4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.
V2, However, understood or not, now we are children of God, and this is the guarantee of future glory. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we do know that when Christ is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. This does not mean that we will be physically like Jesus in heaven. The Lord Jesus will have His own definite appearance, and will bear the scars of Calvary throughout eternity. Each of us, we believe, will have his own distinct features and will be recognizable as such. The Bible does not teach that everyone will look alike in heaven. However, we will be morally like the Lord Jesus Christ. We will be free from the possibility of defilement, sin, sickness, sorrow, and death.
And how will this marvelous transformation be accomplished? The answer is that one look at Christ will bring it to pass. For we shall see Him as He is. Here in life, the process of becoming like Christ is going on, as we behold Him by faith in the word of God. But then the process will be absolutely complete when we see Him as He is: for to see Him is to be like Him.
V3, Everyone who has this hope of seeing Christ and of being like Him, purifies himself, just as He is pure. It has long been recognized by Christians that the hope of the imminent return of Christ has a sanctifying influence in the life of the believer. He does not want to be doing anything that he would not want to be doing when Christ returns. Notice that it says “purifies himself, just as He (Christ) is pure.” It does not say “just as He (Christ) purifies Himself.” The Lord Jesus never had to purify Himself; He is pure. With us, it is a gradual process; with Him, it is a fact.
V5, A Christian cannot go on practicing sin, because that would be a complete denial of the purpose for which the Lord Jesus came into the world. He was manifested to take away our sins. To go on in sin, therefore, is to live in utter disregard of the reason for His Incarnation.
Again, a Christian cannot go on in sin because that would be a denial of the One whose name he bears. In Him there is no sin. This is one of the three key passages in the NT dealing with the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter tells us that “He did no sin.” Paul tells us that “He knew no sin.” Now John, the disciple who knew the Lord in an especially intimate way, adds his testimony, “In Him is no sin.”
V8, The coming of the Lord Jesus was in order to destroy (or annul) the works of the devil. This does not mean “to annihilate” but “to break down” (see Eph 2:14), “to undo,” or “to render ineffective.” Christ did not obliterate Satan; he came to undo the works of the devil by freeing people from sin and its awful consequences. The Lord could have destroyed the devil with a single word, but instead of that, He came down to this world to suffer, bleed, and die that He might annul the works of the devil.
If it cost the Savior so much to put away sin, what should be the attitude of those who have trusted Him as Savior?