Bible Society of South Africa

Hope shrouded in mystery – 2 September 2020

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

2My dear friends, we are now God's children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is. 3Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure, just as Christ is pure.

1 John 3:2-3GNBOpen in Bible reader

How often have you wondered what heaven will be like? And what we will be like when we get there? Revelation 21 gives us some insight into what it isn’t – we know there will be no tears, no more sorrow, no night there, no death, no separation, no weakness, no pain – but the details of our hope are all rather mysterious.

By that however, I don’t mean they are clouded by uncertainty; the general answers are very certain. But they are not particular clear on what the actual experience of life beyond this life will be.

As 1 John 3:2 puts it, “What we will be has not yet been made known.” We will only know when the time comes — and not before then. But the Bible is clear about something that is much more important than those details. It says that “when Christ appears, we shall be like him.”

It’s important to note the context out of which it comes. John’s point here is that what we have been becoming through the years of our life as Christians, will suddenly be revealed when he appears. And what we have been becoming is, little by little, like him. We are being changed into his likeness now, in order that when we see him we shall see him as he is.

And then we shall be able to understand him, to enter into communion with him, and to fellowship with him.

Prayer: God our Father, thank you for calling us your children. Make us like Christ when he appears, so that we can be with you forever. Give us patience as we wait on this mysterious hope. Amen

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