“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” – 1 John 3:2
We all have that one friend. We give them the time that we will arrive to pick them up, and we take extra care to give allowances for emergency situations. You can almost finish my next sentence. We get to the door and hear their shower running, with them inside singing off-key without a care in the world. They are not ready! We fuss at them while they are in the shower, we go ballistic over how careful we were to be mindful of their slothful ways, and yet they are still not on time. Then they emerge, and all of the waiting agitation seems to disintegrate. There they are, in all of their glory. They are our friend, and we are now ready to take on the town!
The purpose of the first book of John, as stated by the writer himself, is to show that Jesus of Nazareth was Christ, the Son of God, and that believers in him might have eternal life. We must remember that the Bible calls John the disciple whom Jesus loved. John had a very personal relationship with the Lord, to the point that he was the only one stated as placing his ear to Jesus’ chest to hear His heartbeat. He knew Jesus beyond what people said of Him. This is pivotal in the way that he wrote about Him. He spoke of Jesus in terms of family and relationship. Many are looking to know about Jesus in a way that garners the appeal of others, but the power in Him is found in knowing Him for one’s self.
John creates a dichotomy for us in this verse. He tells us that now we are sons. Then he declares that it doesn’t yet appear what we shall be. To the novice, this almost seems contradictory. How can I be a son and not know who I am? The paradox is found in the continuance. The former proves the latter! Beloved you don’t need to “earn” His adoption or love; now we are called the sons of God. Now in your uncertainty, pain, unpolished, broken state. Because you are a son, adopted, established in his love, you have nothing to fear, and nothing to seek in terms of the total approval of man. Further, you don’t have to worry about another ever plucking you from His hand. You are now, right now, a son. Because you are a son, you have the will and the purpose to continue to discover all that comes with adoption. As with beautiful children who are being adopted, we have the security of an eternal home and the certainty that we belong to an eternal family that can never be taken from us. But also like adopted children, we are continuing to learn and discover who we are, what we can become, and what vital role we play in the family.
That takes time.
The next time someone tries to take away your discovery of who you are becoming or attempts to diminish who you are because you are not where they are in the gospel, holler out from your place of growth and declare just as the friend in the shower, “hey, I am not ready yet! I am coming!” All of us grow at different paces and in different spaces. The mature know that. The immature look for a reason to discredit. Don’t be the latter.