This morning I’m reading in 1 John of a purifying hope (1Jn. 3:3). An anticipation of there and then which has a way of working in us a sanctification here and now. Becoming more like Him because we believe we’re gonna be with Him.
And we often wonder what will it be like to be face to face with the Savior. When the walk of faith gives way to walking by His side. When what we believe is actually what we behold.
Surrounded by His glory, what will our hearts feel? Will we dance for Jesus, or in awe of Him be still? Will we stand in His presence, or to our knees will we fall? Will we sing hallelujah, or will we be able to speak at all? As the well known song says, “I can only imagine?”
But while the song contemplates what we might do on that day, I’m noodling on what we’ll be like. If I’m reading John correctly, then there will be something in looking upon Him that actually makes us like Him. Seeing will be becoming.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.
(1John 3:2 ESV)
Lot of things we don’t know, but John says this we can know, “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him.”
Not that we’ll look like Him and lose our individual persona. The Lord Jesus will have His own distinct appearance, and we ours. Not that we will become as Him, being all-knowing and all-powerful. But that we be like Him. Inhabiting a new resurrection body. Imperishable. Raised in glory. Infused with power. Spiritual. A heavenly body, like His (1Cor. 15:42-44).
Like Him too, morally. We’ll be free from the flesh, from the old man and its sin nature. No more defilement. No more sickness. No more sorrow. No more death.
How do we know that? Because, John says, we know that when He appears we shall be like Him.
But it’s also seemingly implied here, that seeing Him will facilitate becoming like Him. Because we shall see Him as He is, we shall be as He is. That in the culmination of being in His presence will be the final strokes for conforming us to His image. To behold Him will be to complete our transformation in Him. Seeing will be becoming.
And John’s contention is consistent with Paul’s.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
Beholding the glory of the Lord, if even by faith says Paul, triggers a divine dynamic of making us “more and more like Him as we are changed into his glorious image” (NLT). If that’s true of just believing, then what will happen when we are actually beholding? We shall be like Him.
Don’t know that I fully get it. But, honestly, I can’t wait to.
And I guess that’s why it is a purifying hope. Knowing that I will see Him then, and be like Him then, has a way of compelling me, by His enabling power, to seek Him now. To see Him with the mind’s eye as I read of Him in His holy word. To know Him as I realize increasingly the depths to which He knows me. To abide in Him and He, through His Spirit, in me. To be like Him. Now dimly as through faith, but then fully because of sight.
Seeing really will be becoming.
By His grace. For His glory.