The past 5 days have been quite trying because my computer crashed (I am typing on my wife’s computer!). As of today, no solution has surfaced for its repair/restoration. The good news is that I have a backup. The bad news is I can’t access any of it!
As you can imagine, this has severely impaired my study, research, writing, sermon prep, etc… Times like this can be really frustrating, to say the least.
Events like this in our lives serve as a striking reminder to us of the continuing struggle we face as we wait for the return of Jesus. If we are not careful, frustrating circumstances can overwhelm us and cause us to forget the Good News of the past (i.e., the gospel event) and the Good News of the future (i.e,. the consummation of the gospel event).
To put it another way, if we are not intentionally focusing on the death, burial, resurrection and second coming of Christ, our struggles rather than the gospel will motivate our lives.
When trying circumstances rather than the gospel begin to drive our lives, the result is impatience, anger, stress, sharpness and anxiety (impurity) instead of patience, humility, graciousness, peace and joy (purity).
1 John 3:1-3 says,
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 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. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”
This passage reveals three facts concerning the gospel and how they serve to motivate the believer’s pursuit of holiness in daily Christian living.
First, in love our heavenly Father bestowed on us the uncommon honor of being His children (past gospel fact).
Second, as a result, all believers presently share the unspeakable privilege of being called the children of God (present gospel fact).
Such amazing favor is intended to stir up (motivate/drive) in God’s children a desire to be conformed to His image and to purify themselves even as He is pure.
Third, John shows how the future consummation of the gospel, the second coming of Jesus (cf. “…we know that when he appears we shall be like him…”) also serves to motivate and shape the believer’s present pursuit of sanctification (future gospel fact).
John tells us that the second Coming of Christ is Good News! It is good news because Christ’s return consummates the past and present gospel facts! His return signifies the end of all our frustrating circumstances and ongoing struggles (Rev. 21:4). The redemption and regeneration of the whole cosmos is complete (cf. Rev. 21:5). A new heaven and a new earth will be ushered in and the first heaven and earth will pass away (Rev. 21:1-2). That which is not obvious now (i.e., that we are children of God) will be clearly obvious then!
Thus, the past, present and future facts of the gospel are intended to motivate (i.e, gospel-driven) believers to pursue holiness in their daily Christian living (cf. “…everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”).
Instead of being driven by computer crashes which only leads to impurity, John says that as we fix our hope on the truths of the gospel (past, present and future), we are led to purity.
Let us never forget that the key to holiness in our daily Christian living is to apply the gospel to every part of our lives (this includes dealing with a week long computer crash!).
The whole of our Christian existence consists of hoping in Him. As we do this, our hope will motivate and drive us to follow after purity precisely because this hope leads us straight to Christ, the Pure One!