WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

By Dr. Robert R Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

CHAPTER THREE (Lesson XII) 07/27/21

3:2 Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, right now, and we can’t even imagine what it is going to be like later on. But we do know this, that when He comes, we will be like Him, as a result of seeing Him as He is.

And in one of his other writings, Owen mentions that another thing that allows us to commune with the Anointed One is the spiritual entitlements faith brings. The benefits we enjoy from the Anointed One are incalculable and innumerable. To insist on having them would require a person’s whole life to be given to doing nothing but good works, not just a few chores. So, the Apostle John tells us here in verse two; we are God’s children with a fountain of privileges before God. How did this happen? It came from above with the love of the Father. But who brought us this majestic honor? It was the Anointed One to all who believed Him and accepted Him; He gave the right to become children of God.[1] Now, God is our and the Anointed One’s Father; we are brothers and sisters. The Anointed One is the source of all the honor, advantages, rights, and titles we have.[2]

John Flavel (1627-1691), speaking about the idea of our adoption into the family of God, says that the blood of the Anointed One purchases all good spiritual things for us, such as Justification, which comprises remission of sins and acceptance by God.[3] His blood bought the privilege of belonging to God’s family.[4] Since the Anointed One is His Son, He is God’s “natural heir.” As our Mediator, He is the “heir by appointment” of all things.[5] Because of the Anointed One’s Sonship, we are united to Him by faith to become God’s children; and then joint-heirs, as John says here in verse one.

Flavel goes on to say that our spiritual happiness represents satisfaction resulting from knowing we will see the Son of God one day, the Shepherd of our soul.[6] This awareness of God in His glory yields indescribable gratification to every soul that beholds it, since it will be a spontaneous vision. The bodies’ glorified eye will see the Anointed One.[7] And when will this meeting take place? The Apostle Paul gives us a hint.[8] Thus, it appears Flavel endorses the idea that the Spirit will resurrect believers with a glorified body containing all the senses of our current body. For him, what an enchanting vision this will be! And how much will it exceed all reports and apprehensions we have of it here! Surely, we have been told only half the story. It will be a transformative vision; it will change the beholder into its image and likeness. “We shall be like Him, for we will see Him as He is.” Just as iron placed over a roaring flame becomes fiery red, likewise, the soul, conversing with God, is changed into His very likeness.[9]

Then, Flavel states, what a great honor for the Anointed One to sit enthroned at God’s right hand? Therefore, what glory God reserves in heaven for those faithful to the Anointed One, here on earth? When Jesus prayed, God heard His prayer.[10] So, what heart cannot conceive the contentment of such a sight? It made Stephen’s face shine as the face of an angel when he had but a glimpse of the Anointed One at His Father’s right hand. But this is not all, though this will thrill the spectators of the Anointed One on His glorious throne; we will not only observe Him but will also sit with Him enthroned in glory. To behold Him is one thing, but to sit with Him is even more unimaginable. The queen of Sheba observed the beautiful palace Solomon had built. She noticed the food at the king’s table. She spotted his officials conferring. Not only that, but the Queen glimpsed the servants in the palace and the good clothes they wore. She eyed his parties and the sacrifices that he offered in the Lord’s Temple. She was so amazed; she could hardly breathe![11] [12]

In another place, Flavel states how reasonable is it then that you should now conform yourselves to Him in holiness? The Apostle John says here in verse two, “We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” Not only will your souls be like Him, but your bodies, even these awful bodies, will be changed, fashioned like His glorious body. Remember, Jesus’ resurrected body could walk through walls;[13] vanish from sight while talking with others;[14] remain unknown until granted particular perception;[15] defy gravity in ascending from the earth;[16]  yet could be touched, [17] capable of speaking, [18] consume food, and was imperishable.[19]

It is a forcible motive to urge people to imitate the Anointed One down here, especially seeing our conformity to Him in holiness is the evidence of our likeness to Him in glory.[20] But, since there can be no complacency in our allegiance to God, it is plain from what John says here in verse two that either God must become like us or we be made agreeable to God, which is what John is proving the necessity.[21]

John Bunyan (1628-1688) states that godly people are not eternally saved until their soul is in heaven’s possession. True, their spirit is made perfect and has as much of heaven as presently possible, but a person, consisting of body and soul, cannot be saved entirely so long as their spirit is heavenly, but their body is earthly. Keep in mind; the Anointed One purchased the body with His blood.  Therefore, the body became the temple of God’s Spirit[22] and a member of the Anointed One’s spiritual body.[23] With that being the case, eternal salvation comes for believers only after the resurrection.[24]

That’s why, says Bunyan, when the Anointed One comes the second time, then He will save the body from all those things that at present make it incapable of abiding in heaven, for we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, where the Lord Jesus the Anointed One lives. And we eagerly wait for Him to return as our Savior.21  He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His.[25] O what treasure God put into this little word “saved!” But, of course, we will not see all the jewels that God placed in this word “saved” until the Lord Jesus comes to raise the dead.[26] But until He appears, what we will become cannot be seen just by looking at this word “saved.” Until then, we have the deposit of what we shall be – the Spirit of God.[27] [28]

George Swinnock (1627-1673) says that the sacred moments brought by the sound of the Gospel, that draws God’s people to be of one heart, are spoken of as proceeding from this cause: “for the earth will pile up with God’s knowledge like the water that fills the oceans.”[29] The perfection of grace and holiness in heaven will affect part of this knowledge of God. As the Apostle John says here in verse two, we will be exactly like Him once we shall how ideal He is.[30]

Scottish Presbyterian John Ker (1673-1726) notes that the first thought of the apostle was no doubt the human nature of Christ as appearing again to the eyes of His friends. He left with that nature and promised to return the same way – “I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice.”[31] His first disciples are not the only favored believers who saw the Anointed One in the flesh.[32] If we are part of those who love His appearing, [33] we will experience it with them. Sinful flesh will finally be removed – the marred look and form of suffering. And we’ll have the same look that turned the Apostle Peter’s face into a grin when Jesus rejoiced, exuberant in the Holy Spirit, and thanked His Father, Master of heaven and earth, that He hid these things from the know-it-alls and showed them to these innocent children.

Yes, Father, says Jesus, it pleased You to do it this way. Those innocent children were the first disciples, and what they felt will be part of every saint that enters heaven. And like them, our divine royalty has hidden from the world’s eyes. But when He is made visible, God’s redeemed will be the center and the sunlight of a new world.[34] They are the heritage of an innumerable company. Yet, each one of us, as if by ourselves, will have a personal encounter and genuine human fellowship with the Son of God.[35] How long will it take Him to hug and chat with billions of believers? Simple, as long as eternity.


[1] John 1:12

[2] Owen, John: Communion with God, Ch. 10, p. 268

[3] See Romans 3:24

[4] Galatians 3:26

[5] Hebrews 1:2

[6] See Psalm 17:15

[7] Job 19:26-27

[8] 1 Thessalonians 4:17

[9] Flavel, John: The Fountain of Life, pp. 179-182

[10] John 17:24

[11] 1 Kings 10:4b-5

[12] Flavel, John: The Fountain of Life, op. cit., p. 550

[13] See John 20:19, 26

[14] Luke 24:30-31

[15] Ibid. 24:15

[16] Acts of the Apostles 1:9

[17] John 20:27

[18] Luke 24:17-32

[19] 1 Corinthians 15:42

[20] See Romans 6:5; 2 Peter 3:11

[21] Flavel, John: The Method of Grace, op. cit., pp. 430; 367

[22] 1 Corinthians 6:19

[23] Ibid. 12:12

[24] Ibid. 6:13-19; Ephesians 5:30

[25] Philippians 3:20-21

[26] 1 John 3:2

[27] 2 Corinthians 1:22

[28] Bunyan’s Practical Works: Vol. 7, Saved by Grace, p. 15

[29] Isaiah 11:9

[30] Swinnock, George: Vol. 3, The Christian Man’s Calling, Ch. 12, p. 158

[31] John 16:22

[32] Think of the 5,000 He fed (Matthew 14:13:21)

[33] 2 Timothy 4:8

[34] Revelation 1:7-8

[35] Ker, John: Biblical Illustrator, First Epistle of John, op. cit., p. 50

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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