Lord, open our eyes. Amen.
1 John 3, 1-6. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him.
“This is the greatest and warmest love, which burns like a fiery furnace, that Jesus has loved us unto death on the cross, and been obedient to his Father, who gave him to us as our Savior. And not only do we become the sons of God, but we are also to be called and known by this title before God and his angels.” When Missionary Ziegenbalg in Trankebar was translating the New Testament, and came to this passage, “we should be called the sons of God,” his native assistants would not write it down, but substituted in its place the statement that “God will permit us to kiss his feet.” However, God himself has written that “we should be called the sons of God;” and his words shall remain in force. He has elected us in Christ, and bestowed upon us the adoption of sons. He has regenerated us, given us his Spirit, and made us partakers of his divine nature; and thus our hearts belong to him in childlike faith and devotion. How great our glory shall be when we are perfected, and come into full possession of our inheritance, not even Saint John is able to say. “But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” And Paul says, I Corinthians 13, 12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Here all is as yet but dimly visible, and love is kept down by the flesh. The clearest minds and the most noble hearts have the most fervent longing after more light and after deliverance from this body of death. The light and deliverance shall come; we shall reach a full understanding of the truth, and become like God in pure love. To “see him” is the bliss of heaven itself. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16, 11). — “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” If any man hope for salvation, but do not purify himself from sin, his hope is vain. He that is in Christ can not endure the uncleanness of sin, but strives to attain perfect holiness. If we were not saved from sin, we would of necessity continue in it, and could not purify ourselves. On the other hand, if we were already without sin, it would be idle to talk about being purified. The world knows neither us nor the fountain in which we are cleansed; for it knows neither the Father nor the Son.
But let us, by a holy life, prove to the world that we really have been saved from sin, and that we in truth have a living hope! “If the Father is to be known in the children, if our conduct is to be such, that it can endure the light, the flame of love must burn in us and be able to work miracles; we must glorify God by deeds of charity toward our enemies.”
We thank thee for thy great love, heavenly Father. We heartily confess that we are not worthy of it. Enlighten us by thy Spirit, that with our whole heart we may believe in thee and thy Son, our Lord Jesus; that we may hold fast the hope of seeing thee in eternal bliss, and that we prepare for it by purging ourselves of all sin. O that we might become more like thee every day, and soon stand before thee face to face in heaven! Amen.
There is an hour of hallowed peace
For those with care oppressed,
When sighs and sorrowing tears shall cease,
And all be hushed to rest.
‘Tis then the soul is freed from fears
And doubts that here annoy:
Then they that oft had sown in tears
Shall reap again in joy.