In view of all his experience, and his companionship with the Lord when in the flesh, how the beloved disciple must have longed for the realization of "this hope,"—to be like Jesus and to see him as he is. "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." What glory and joy in the assurance! We shall see him: our Comforter in all our disciplining, when the way was narrow and steep; our Refuge when all around were indifferent, or cold and cynical; our Lord who calls us "friend" and "brother;" our Shepherd who died for us, sought us out so tenderly (John 15:16), and who leads us so carefully in our present rich pasturage! Aye, more! We shall then know him; for "then shall we know, even as also we are known." Do not "our hearts burn within us" as we contemplate these glorious prospects?
And then, "every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Quickened by "this hope," how we are strengthened to lay at the foot of the cross all our worldly desires, realizing that "the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." "So then they that are in the flesh [of sin] [R1138 : page 6] cannot please God." But we "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit," having received "the mind of the Spirit," [R1139 : page 6] have the inspiring realization that we are "Sons of God," and wait with patience, yet in eagerness, the grand consummation.
Purify ourselves! How carefully we must guard our every thought and act. To "be like" our dear Lord, we must rid ourselves not only of the grossness of the flesh, but also of every desire of the flesh, for "if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Does any one say, it is not natural to lay down all desire of the flesh! No, it is not, but it is Divine!! We who are "new creatures in Christ Jesus" are seekers after the "Divine Nature," hoping "to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust." How inspiring the hope! "True is the word: If we died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure patiently, we shall also reign with him; if we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful: for he cannot deny himself." "But faithful is the Lord, who will establish and guard you from the evil one." (2 Tim. 2:11-13 and 2 Thes. 3:3, Diaglott.) With "our beloved brother Paul," let us "do this one thing," "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth to those things which are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."