Live Brilliantly - A Study In The Book Of 1 John

Day 5 of 10 • This day’s reading

Devotional

To Know Him Is to Expect Him


Introduction

Maranatha means our Lord will come. Sometime during the centuries of Roman persecution of Christians following Jesus' death and resurrection, Christians began saying "Maranatha!" to one another. Early Christians were anxious for Jesus' return. Are you? You might wonder when He will return or even if He will; thousands of years have passed since believers first started saying "Maranatha!" Peter reminds us "that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8).


In the New Testament, one out of every twenty-five verses discusses Jesus' return, and the second coming of Christ is mentioned 316 times . Truly, Jesus is coming soon, and John urged believers to be ready.


Jesus Will Return

"Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28). The language John used to talk about Jesus' return is imminent: when He appears, at His coming. The first generation of Christians anticipated Jesus' promised return. We must be just as expectant. 


In Titus 2, the apostle Paul instructed us to "[look] for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (v. 13). To look means to expect, anticipate, or have in mind as an end. For believers, Jesus' return really does mark the end—of human suffering, persecution, and darkness. Do you have in mind Jesus' second coming?


Hebrews 9:28 says, "To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Jesus will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are looking for Him. 


Abide Until His Return

In 1 John 2:28, John revealed that you have two choices considering Christ's return: you can either abide in Him or be ashamed of Him. Abide was an important word to John. He used it ten times in this chapter alone, twenty-seven times in his three epistles, and forty times in his gospel. To abide means "to remain stable or fixed in a state." It carries with it a sense of permanence. 


Think of a friend or relative traveling from out of town and in need of a place to stay. She might call you and ask, "Hey, can I come and stay with you?" You would assume she means stay for a night or two or a long weekend. But if your friend or relative calls and says, "I'd like to come and abide with you," that indicates they're moving in. Stock the refrigerator. Make room in the closet. 


Jesus said, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23). Jesus makes a home in the heart of every believer. He abides in you. 


And when He abides in you, you will bear fruit: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit" (John 15:5). The fruit spoken of in this text is righteousness. "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him" (1 John 2:29). Righteousness is an attribute of God. He cannot be anything other than consistent with His own character. When you abide in Him, there is evidence of His righteousness in your life, and you become consistent with His character. 


Ashamed at His Return

Believers who abide in Him need not be ashamed when He returns. "Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming" (1 John 2:28). Conversely, if we choose not to abide in Him, we will be ashamed when He returns. 


The word ashamed indicates feelings of guilt, even disgrace. Some Christians will not be ready when Jesus comes. They will be guilty, perhaps caught in a lifestyle inconsistent with His righteousness. Fruitless. Jesus said in John 15:6, "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."


Closing

Jesus will return. Will you choose to abide in Him until then? If so, you will be ready. John assured us that if we choose to abide in Him, then "when He appears, we may have confidence…at His coming" (1 John 2:28). I can't imagine anything better than having a feeling of confidence when Jesus shows up. Confidence that you've chosen to follow Him. Confidence that your character reflects His character. Confidence that your life has borne much fruit. 


Prayer

Lord Jesus, You have promised to return. And when You return, I want to be ready. I want to be found righteous and unashamed. Forgive me, Lord, for anything in my life that is inconsistent with someone who abides in You. Make my life fruitful, Jesus, until You come again. Maranatha!