“And now, dear children, continue in him,
so that when he appears we may be confident
and unashamed before him at his coming”
(1 John 2:28)
John reminds us of what we know but are inclined to treat lightly – Jesus Christ is coming again. He will come in glorious power and majesty and we will see Him as He truly is. Whether our bodies have already died or whether we will still be living here when it takes place it will be an unimaginably momentous occasion.
When it happens we do not want to be amongst those who try to flee in terror – nor do we wish to be amongst those who are nervously hopeful. Instead John holds out to us the possibility of our being ‘confident and unashamed’. Not fearing for ourselves we can enjoy the breath-taking spectacle of His glory and worship Him with tears of joy and wonder. This is our Lord and God – He is ours and we are His and everything is beauty, wonder, love and joy.
The way for this to be our response is for us to ‘continue in Him’ here and now – for every moment of our earthly lives. This of course picks up what he records Jesus as saying in his Gospel.
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you”
When we come to Him as our Saviour and our Lord we become a part of Him – like a branch being grafted into a vine. From then on we draw our life from Him and He expresses His life through us. Both Jesus who calls on us to ‘remain in Him’ and John who urges us to ‘continue in Him’ are talking of an ongoing and personal relationship which, having started, is to have no separation or end. The way to develop and express this new relationship is quite clear – we are to take Jesus and His teaching and increasingly make them a part of our lives as our Way and Truth and Life.
“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love”
Note that we do not earn His love by our obedience for we have already entered into it. Instead we express our love, gratitude and faith though our subsequent obedience and trust. As we become used to living in this intimate and life-giving relationship with the Lord His second coming can hold for us no fear – only the promise of an even closer and more wonderful life with Him in all its completeness and fullness.
Stay close to the Lord in this way and He will stay close to you
Lord You have made me a part of Your Life – help me to live in such a close and trusting relationship with You that neither death nor Your coming again can hold any fear for me. Amen.