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. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
As John writes this section of scripture, we can make out his eager anticipation to be with Jesus. We see the loving kindness John uses to remind us that as followers of Jesus, exercising genuine saving faith in Christ, we have become dear children of God. And as such we are constantly “under construction” as it were by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does a work of Christ in us, transforming our hearts and minds to the things of God. As the Holy Spirit continues His transforming work in our hearts, we begin to feel a longing and a hope for the return of Jesus our Lord and Savior. The result of which is we begin to live with the anticipation of Christ’s soon return. And John tells us, when we see Jesus face to face, we will receive our glorified bodies, fit for an eternity in His presence. And this is what John is speaking about in these passages. As believers and followers of Christ, we undergo a three stage process after receiving salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. Moreover, with our salvation, we receive a new spirit which is alive to God and the things of God.
First, we have justification through faith as we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ. Second, we go through sanctification as the Holy Spirit changes us from the inside out. And lastly glorification when we go home to be with Christ and receive our glorified bodies. And here in these passages we see that John is reminding us of the hope which exist in the heart of every follower of Christ. That is the hope of seeing Jesus face to face and being with Him for all eternity. And it’s this anticipation of the soon return of our Lord and Savior, which in turn gives us the drive to live a life pleasing to God. Moreover, it’s this hope which is the earmark of every follower of Christ. Because of the love we have for the Lord, we have a deep-down longing to see Him and be with Him. This desire comes from our hearts which have been made new by our faith in Christ. In addition, it’s this anticipation and love, combined with the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, which causes us to grow and mature spiritually. The fruit of our maturity is seen as changes to our behavior and our outlook on life, as day by day our desire to be in the presence of Christ increases and we develop a thirst for the word of God.