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The Most Amazing Statement in Scripture

Sermon by John Blanchard on Nov 12, 2017

1 John 3:1-8

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The Reverend Dr. David T. A. Strain:

Now if you would take a copy of the Scriptures in your hands and turn with me to the first letter of the apostle John, 1 John chapter 3. We’ll read the first eight verses in the church Bible; you’ll find that on page 1022. Before we read it together, let me ask you to bow your heads with me as we pray. Let’s pray.

Our Father, before us now is Your holy Word. It is authoritative; we hear Your voice addressing us in it. It is true, in a world where the appearance of truth is all that’s needed; where there are so many competing voices making claims to truth but being deceptive. Here, we have reliable, authentic, dependable truth; true truth. It is light that can penetrate the darkness and the fog of our confusion showing us ourselves as we really are – bankrupt on our own. Showing us Christ as Your perfect provision for us – a sufficient Savior to all who call upon Him. And so now as Your Word is spread before us, we ask You that You would wield it with power in our hearts leading us away from sin and self to the only Savior who is all that we need. For we ask it in His precious name, amen.

1 John chapter 3 at the first verse. This is the Word of Almighty God:

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 

                                                                                            

Amen, and we praise God for His holy Word.

Well, it is my very great privilege to welcome to our service this evening to bring God's Word, Dr. John Blanchard. He is, as we said at the beginning, not a stranger to our congregation, to our fellowship. He is a well-known preacher and teacher all over the world, an apologist and an author. You may well know the pamphlets, Right with God or Ultimate Questions. He is particularly engaged these days in the work of apologetics, giving a defense and a reason for the truth we hold dear. And we are delighted to have John and his wife, Pam, here with us. John, would you come please now and bring the Word of God to us.

The Reverend Dr. John Blanchard:

Well, thank you very much for that very generous introduction. It's always a privilege to be here at First Pres and I'm grateful to Dr. Strain for giving me this particular opportunity. I first preached from this pulpit in 1991, so if you are twenty-six years or under, you were not even a glint in your father’s eye when I first preached here! The last time I preached here, I recall telling the congregation that this was the final service at the end of my eightieth preaching tour in the United States. And I ended the introduction very solemnly and grandly by saying these words, “So this is the last sermon I will ever preach on this side of the Atlantic.” I stepped down out of the pulpit and my friend Calvin Wells said, “We’ll see you again next year, then!” Which amongst other things taught me never to argue with a lawyer!

He was right and I was wrong, but if I was wrong then, I won’t be wrong tonight because I want to share with you something of which I am absolutely, 100% certain. More than that, what I want to share with you is what I have dared to say – although “dare” is not the right word – in the bulletin, and that is what I have called “The Most Amazing Statement in Scripture.” This statement consists of only five words, but they are so staggering as to be infinitely beyond our imagination, and therefore, of course, beyond our understanding. And they are found in the reading we had just a few moments ago from the first epistle, or letter, of John, and the third chapter. So if you have a Bible with you or can pick up one from the shelf in front of you, please turn with me to that part of God’s Word.

We’ll come to these five words gently and gradually and we’ll do that by breaking into John’s letter at what we call the beginning of chapter three. He didn’t call it any such thing of course; you are well enough taught in this church to know that originally in the Scriptures there are no chapters or verse divisions. But it’s convenient for us to call it the very beginning of chapter 3, which in some versions read, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called the children of God.” In another version, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God.” And I think if we amalgamate those two translations, we get a sense of what is being said here. The words John uses asks us to focus our attention on something very particular, in fact, something massive. The phrase he uses could well be translated, “What manner of love is this?” Or, “What kind of love is this?” Or as I may mention in a moment or so, “What on earthly kind of love is this?”

I spend too much of my time in airports of one kind or another. With the present security arrangements, the balance between the time I spend in the airport and the time I spend in the air, is becoming greater and greater, and that has been the case already on this particular trip. One of the things I do by way of diverting my attention from being bored sitting there waiting for the next announcement is, that I look at the planes that are coming in, landing, taking off, taxiing, parked at the gate, and I look particularly at the tail fins of the planes and try to work out what country it is they come from. As the years have gone by, I have become capable of getting many more of them correct, but there are still some that I don’t get right. And I find myself saying, “I wonder what country that comes from?”

Children of God

It’s that kind of feeling that there is in John’s opening words here. “What kind of message is this? What kind of love is this? What kind of greeting? What kind of thing is God saying to us?” It’s the kind of phrase that’s used only three other times in the New Testament. Once is when Mary was given by the angel an announcement concerning the oncoming birth of the Lord Jesus and we’re told that she wondered, “What kind of greeting is this?” Well, that’s the spirit of the words John is using here. “What kind of love is this that we should be called children of God?” Now it’s that fact that causes John to be astonished. You will find in the Old Testament, there’s a great sense that people had of God as the Creator, as the Provider, as the Sustainer, as the Ruler, and as the Judge. But I have found nowhere in the whole of the Old Testament where an individual believer addresses God as Father. And that, it seems, is what is astonishing John as he’s led by the Holy Spirit to write these words. “So how great, how amazing is the love the Father has lavished on us” – that’s a word the NIV imports – “lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.” And having made that statement, he repeats it continuing in verse 1, “And that is what we are.” It’s as if having written these astonishing words, “We are the children of God,” it’s almost as though he pauses and says to himself, “You know, it’s true! And that is what we are.”

And he’s still not finished, because he goes on at the beginning of verse 2 to repeat it. “Dear children, dear friends,” rather, “now we are the children of God.” I think if there had been a Greek word for, “Wow,” I think John would have used it here. “This is an amazing thing. We are the children of God! And that is what we are!” And then as if he can’t get it out of his mind, “We are the children of God.” It’s an astonishing phrase that John is using here. He uses the word, “children,” and not the words as Paul often does, the word, “sons.” When Paul uses the word, “sons,” he’s speaking about their status or their legal relationship, but John is speaking about birth and a family relationship.

Unearthly Love

And one of our English translations is not far wide of the mark or the sense of it at least when they use the phrase, "this is an unearthly love." There is an earthly love which is remarkable and commendable and wonderful. For example, a family that accepts into its membership and into the fold of its home, a child that’s been severely disadvantaged, perhaps by injury or the rejection of it by its parents, or the victim of war or a deed of genocide in its country of origin. And for a family to take that child into its fold and to treat it as if it were biologically one of its own, I think that is a wonderful thing. I know of a pastor who has done that four times and is about to do it for a fifth time. That’s wonderful love. But it is still not more than a shadow of what we find here. What we find here is God taking vile, rebellious sinners, those who by nature were the very enemies of God, and then taking them into His family, making them His children, by giving them His nature so that John can say, “We are the children of God.”

So my friends here tonight, if you are a Christian – and I appreciate not all of you may be, but if you’re not, please listen on and I hope that by the end of the sermon you will be saying, “Do you know, that is something that I long desperately to be and that I need to be, not only for the rest of my life but for the life to come!” But if you are a Christian tonight, it doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are highly educated or otherwise, whether you consider yourself important or relatively insignificant, you are a member of the family of God. You have the Creator as your Father, you have the Lord Jesus as your Savior, and you have the Holy Spirit as your Empowerer

Unknowable Things

And so John is so certain about this, as I say, that he repeats himself twice. In other words, he says it three times. And then suddenly, follow with me in the text, John suddenly turns from the present to the future and he turns from being dogmatic, something of which he is absolutely certain, he turns to being agnostic. Yes, he is an apostle, but there’s something about which he is agnostic. Look at it. “Dear friends, now are we the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” He says, “Of this I am absolutely certain, but there are things of which I am not certain at all.” God has not chosen to tell us in His Word everything about the future. There are glimpses, there are cameos, there are pieces of information here and there. There are tantalizing statements, but many of the pieces concerning our future life in glory in the new heavens and the new earth, beyond the grave, most of the details that, if you’re like me you would love to know, are actually missing. And John is honest enough about it. He says there are certain things we do not know.

When a preacher poses as an expert on what lies on the other side of the grave, gives us all kinds of details about it, I fear that they are going beyond revelation and into speculation. Even the apostle John, at this point in writing what we now know to be the living and enduring Word of God, says there are things that “have not yet been made known.” But his agnosticism lasts only for a blink of an eye, because he then says, “Having said these are things that we don’t know, but, we know that when He appears” – and he’s now looking forward to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, something that is mentioned three hundred times in the New Testament; once for every twelve verses from Genesis to Revelation. And so John looks forward with absolute certainty to that event in the future and says, “But when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

We Shall Be Like Him

And as you may now have guessed, the five words are the five words at the beginning of that statement – “We shall be like Him.” That is why I have chosen to call those five words “The Most Amazing Statement in Scripture.” Now you may disagree with me, and if you disagree, you’re wrong! This is the most amazing! There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, except that you’re wrong! This is the most amazing statement in Scripture! Are there any more wonderful words in all of literature than these? Donald Grey Barnhouse certainly didn’t think so. He said of these words, “They are perhaps the most breathtaking phrase in all of literature.” Now it’s one thing going back to the beginning of the chapter for John to tell us and to rivet our minds on God’s love for us. It’s one thing for us to think with our knowledge of Scripture to go beyond that and to be reminded that God has forgiven our sins, that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that we are eternally secure in His love, that we are to spend eternity where there is no more death and no more sin and no more suffering, and so on. But this. This goes beyond all of that. John is telling us here not just that we will be with Jesus or that we will stand before Him or that we will be beside Him or that we will be near Him, but that we shall be like Him.

Now how can we possibly grasp that? And the answer is, “We can’t. It is impossible for us to do so.” But to try to help us to approach at least the fringes of what John is saying here, let me put an emphasis, let me focus our attention on one word at a time. And I want to end with the last word and work towards the first word. In other words, I want to start at the end and work towards the beginning. Now that’s a very unusual thing to do. Sigmund Freud may have said that I must have been dropped on my head as a child, but as Freud was a fraud, I wouldn’t believe that he said anyway! And this is the way in which I’m choosing to do it tonight. I want us to begin with the last word and work towards the beginning.

Him

“We shall be like Him.” Not absolutely clear whether the reference is to God the Father or to God the Son, but it's easier to think, and it makes no significant difference, of course, it's easier to think in terms of the Son. And even at its most basic, "We shall be like Him,” is staggering. Just think for a moment with me of certain things about His life on earth. And as I just mention these, and we’ll not stop with them, as I just mention them, just place your own life alongside what I’m about to remind you is said about the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. Think of Him generally. “He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin.” Think of His words. “Everyone was amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips.” Think of His meekness. “I am meek and lowly of heart.” Think of His patience. “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no threats.” Think of His compassion. Repeatedly we are told, “He was moved with compassion at the needs of people all around Him.” Think of His humility. He said He’d come, “to serve, and not to be served.” Think of His faith. “He entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.” Think of His obedience. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish his work.” When we think of all of those things, those descriptions of the Lord Jesus here upon earth, and when we place our lives alongside, we realize how much we need Him because of how unlike Him we are.

And yet the picture that John is holding before us here is something even greater because when we've ransacked the gospels and the epistles for examples of the character of Jesus here on earth, we have only touched the surface of what John is saying, because he is pointing us not to the human Jesus here upon earth, but to the glorified humanity of Jesus in heaven. And it is like the glorified Jesus that we shall be. And the clearest confirmation of that is in John 17. "I have given them the glory that you gave me," Jesus prays to His Father. Not, of course, His essential glory. We will never become miniature or minor deities. We will not become gods in any way, shape, or form. But it was the glory given to Jesus when He took human flesh and form upon Him, when He lived here upon earth, when He lived and died in the place of sinners, when He became the firstborn among many brothers, the representatives of those for whom He died. It was when that glory that was poured upon Him, He accepted not for His own benefit but for ours, and it is that glory that we will share with Him in heaven. That is the inheritance that we will have as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. So "We shall be like Him.”

Like

And then secondly, “We shall be like Him.” I vividly recall when my third son and his wife were given the great blessing of twins. And I can remember our excitement as we went along to see them for the first time. We had two-thirds of the excitement of Tom Rice six years ago! And we went along to see these twins. And I can remember all the ooo-ing and the ahh-ing and then, of course, the obvious things that people say, "Well I think he's got his mother's eyes!" "I think he's got his father's nose!" "I think he's got his great-grandmother's chin!" And I think he's got his grandfather's…" and so on and so forth, as though they'd been assembled by General Motors in Detroit! You got a bit of this and a bit of that and they've been put together. Look, it is a genetic certainty that children inherit something of their parent's likeness. It is a spiritual certainty that we will all have the likeness of our Savior. 

Physical Transformation

And just think of what that means. Firstly, that there will be a physical transformation. Listen to the apostle Paul writing to the church in Philippi. And these are wonderful words that surely mean so much to us as we study this passage together this evening. We will be like Him. We will be physically like Him. Paul says this to the Corinthian church, “Our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Now here upon earth, our bodies are amazing. As the psalmist reminds us, we truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And yet, how frail and feeble and fragile they are because of the fall. Every atom in these bodies of ours are subject to deterioration and disease and decay and ultimately death. But not when we see Him. Not when our bodies are like His glorious body. Literally, “the body of His glory.” Our bodies, then, will be identifiable with our present bodies, but not identical to them. They will no longer be limited to matters of time and space, to issues of that nature.

We will discover, as Paul tells the Corinthians, that the perishable will be clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. This is the glorious prospect that lies before God’s people, which is why Paul can write to the Romans in the magnificence of chapter 8, “We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” There will be a physical transformation. In the gospels, Jesus uses the same word and speaks about it being a regeneration. Just as regeneration, spiritually speaking, brought us into saving grace, so this regeneration will take us into eternal glory. So there will be a physical transformation. “We shall be like Him.”

Spiritual Transformation

But there will also be a spiritual transformation. This is the second way in which we shall be like Him. Now, what is Jesus like today? Excuse the language if that sounds a bit light, but we're certainly allowed to ask the question in that way. Well, we're not left with speculation. We can actually say that whatever is true of God is true of the Lord Jesus. But there’s no need to speculate because in three specific ways John tells us what the answer is.

Pure

Look with me at verse 3. “Everyone who has this hope in him, purifies himself just as he is pure.” Now we’re looking at the moment at the glorified Jesus. Firstly, then, He is pure. That is without any kind of contamination or defilement. In His very nature, He is morally perfect.

Sinless

Then look at verse 5. “In him, there is no sin.” Well, that follows from the first. And what a tremendous encouragement that is in the context of the promise we are studying. We don’t have to wrestle here with whether it was possible during His earthly life for Jesus to have sinned; we needn’t concern ourselves with that question here. The fact of the matter is, we know that He didn’t, and now that He doesn’t He has not the slightest sympathy towards sin; not the slightest inclination to sin. Not the closest or the slightest affection for sin.

Righteous

And then look at verse 7. “He is righteous.” That has to do with being just. It has to do with God’s Law. It carries with it meaning such as rightness, consistency, integrity, justice, truthfulness, faithfulness, and absolutely consistent conformity with God’s will and nature. So if we ask the question, “What is Jesus like now?” John’s shorthand notes, and they’re obviously no more than that, firstly He is pure, secondly, He is sinless, and thirdly He is righteous. They are, as I say, shorthand notes on the heavenly character of the Lord Jesus. And now here is part of the amazing thing that John is saying. "We shall be like Him." As pure as He is pure, as sinless as He is sinless, as righteous as He is righteous. No wonder I said early on that the statement we're considering together tonight is infinitely beyond our comprehension or our understanding. So, "We shall be like Him.” And, “We shall be like Him.”

Shall be

And thirdly, “We shall be like Him.” Now if John were to have written, “It is a possibility that some Christians will, in the life beyond, be like Jesus. They will have been such effective Christians, have achieved so much in God’s service, being so manifestly superior, morally and spiritually to their peers, and for them this may well be true, that they will be like the Lord Jesus” – if John were to have said that, that would be staggering! But he goes far beyond that and he doesn’t say, “Well, that would be a possibility for some.” He says, “That will be an absolute certainty for all of God’s children.” This isn’t just feasible. John says, “This is factual!”

But how can we be sure of that? Is this, as liberal commentators might say, “Well, this is the romantic John going a little bit over the top.” Do we have to settle for that? No, we don’t, and I will show you in a minute why we don’t. But here is one part of Scripture that would confirm it for us. Where Peter writes in his first letter in chapter 5, “When the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory.” Not just a glorious crown, but a crown of glory that never fades away.

But the strongest endorsement and underlining of what John is saying to us occurs of course in Romans chapter 8. A number of years ago I was preaching in the United States in a Baptist church, as it happens, but there’s no denominational point to what I’m about to say, when at the beginning of the week the pastor said to me, “I wonder if you could spend some time later in the week speaking to a member of the congregation. He’s a brilliant man. To call him an orthodontist is to damn him with faint praise. His office is filled with citations and awards from all over the nation because of his skill at implantology and other wonderful things that he was able to do.” The pastor told me all of that and then said, “And he is a Christian, but he is not absolutely certain that at the end of life his place in heaven, in glory, is absolutely secure. In other words, he’s not absolutely sure of his perseverance to the end. I wonder if you would spend some time with him.”

I have to confess, because confession is good for the soul, that my first reaction was to say, “Well, I hope it can’t be arranged, because the one thing that some people are sure about are their doubts!” And I knew that this was a person who was not doubtful about his assurance, but he was absolutely sure about his doubts. But the arrangement was made and I met with him one day in one of the Sunday school rooms. And I can see him now. And he told me his story, and just as I suspected, he’d been raised in a church where you could be saved and lost and saved again and lost again and that was what had got him into that particular frame of mind. So I allowed him to tell the story, and as he was telling me his story, I really did think, “Now where do I go? How do I answer his problem? Do I address individual parts of it or go back into the history of his church and so forth?”

I found myself turning with him to Romans chapter 8 and reading these words: “Those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Those he predestined he also called, those he called he also justified, those he justified he also glorified.” So I went through those points and explained them to him, that God, foreknowing, didn’t merely mean, “Well, God knew in advance what people would choose,” but that God had chosen them before He put the sun, moon, and stars into space to be His children. All of those He had foreknown in that way, He predetermined would be conformed to the likeness of His Son. All those for whom those two wonderful things were true, He called – not merely enabled them to hear the Gospel, but enabled them to hear it with the inner ear of the heart. All of those who did so were made right with God; they were justified. And all of those who were thus made right with God, would one day be in glory with their Savior.

The Past Tense

And having explained all of that, I said, “Now let’s go through the passage again and let me ask you some questions.” And throughout all of this time, here was this great man, and that’s not an exaggeration, with a notebook and pen noting down what I was saying. I said, “Let’s go through those words again. Those God foreknew. What tense is that in?” And he said, “The past tense.” I said, “That’s right.” I can see him now writing it down – “The past tense.” “He also predestined. What tense is that in?” “The past tense.” “Correct.” “The past tense.” “What about called? What tense is that in?” “The past tense.” “The past tense.” “And what about justified?” “Oh, that’s also in the past tense.” “Correct.” Wrote that down. I said, “Now, what about glorified?” And he said, “Now you’re tricking me, because that’s yet to happen in the future and that’s my problem! I’m not sure whether that’s going to happen in the future!” I said, “Hear me carefully. Glorified is in the same tense as all the other verbs. It is in the past tense.” Paul is so certain that this is going to happen that he writes about it as if it had already happened. I can still see that great man put down his pen, look me straight in the eye, and say this, “Thirteen years of uncertainty have just rolled away.” “We shall be like Him.” It is not a possibility; it is an absolute certainty.

Predestination

I find, in some circles, some Christians being a little unsettled by the word “predestination.” I’ve even heard people say, “I don’t like the word ‘predestination.’” My answer to that is always very clear. “Well, God likes it, so have a word with the Author!” But surely, if you were to say to those same Christians, “Tell me, what do you think of the phrase, ‘We shall be like Him’? What do you think of the statement that one day, if we’re trusting the Lord Jesus as our Savior we will be on the new heavens and the new earth glorified in His presence? What do you think of that? ‘And we shall be like Him’?” They would say, “That is wonderful! I love that!” I would follow that by saying, “Then how do we know that is going to be the case? It is because that is what God has predestined for us. That’s our destination.”

And that is exactly where that great man was on that particular day. It’s no wonder that Paul ends that particular chapter by saying, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We

“We shall be like Him.” “We shall be like Him.” “We shall be like Him." And if each of those statements is amazing, they are not any more amazing, in fact, can we dare say less so, than the fact that "We shall be like Him.” “We shall be like Him.”

Fallen Bodies

Think of our bodies. Paul tells the Philippians, he speaks about our lowly bodies and the real meaning is our humiliated bodies. And that is exactly what they are – humiliated in the consequences of the fall. Dragged into everything involved in mortality. Before the fall, man’s body was absolutely perfect, and now we have weakness and sickness and frailty and aches and pains and all of them leading inevitably to death.

In my home, I have a book – I’ve had it for many years – called, Guide to Family Health. I think that’s a dreadful misnomer for the book, because there are times when I’ve had some kind of ache and pain and I've thought, "Let me just see what this is all about." And I've gone to the book of family health, found what I think I have, and discovered there are all kinds of subsections and cross-references. So I go to them and look them up and they've all got cross-references. And by the time I've read all of those things, I’ve hardly got the strength to put the book down! And what weak and frail and fragile bodies we have. Humiliated bodies. J.B. Phillips calls them “wretched bodies.” It’s been rightly said the whole world is a hospital and every person in it is a terminal patient. And this becomes especially uppermost in our thinking when we reach what some of us called “the metallic age” – silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, and lead in your boots! Or as somebody added, “and titanium in your hips!” And what frail bodies we have. But not then.

Sinful Spirits

And think of our spirits. We are not innocent. We weren’t neutral. God did not start, as it were, from scratch. We are by nature children of wrath; born exposed to God’s righteous judgment. At the moment of birth, we were already sinners, by up to nine months or so, so that David is able to write in that great confessional psalm, that he was a sinner from birth, sinful “from the time my mother conceived me.” And that is true of every one of us without exception. We are, by nature, the enemies of God. And the result soon becomes very clear and becomes clearer the longer we live. Think of some of the things that have plagued and polluted and ruined our lives. Here is one of the catalogues given to us by the Lord Jesus. What comes out of a man is what makes him unclean, for from within, out of man’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. And where did all of those things come from? Do they have to do with our environment? Our upbringing? Our family conditions? No, they don’t come from outside. Jesus made it crystal clear they come from inside. The problem is not that we are deprived; the problem is that we are depraved, that we are by nature corrupt and vile and godless. And the more spiritually mature we become, the more rotten we know ourselves to be. So that the apostle Paul, at the very zenith of his ministry, admits this – “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. Nothing.” And here he was, as we said, at the very peak of his ministry.  And there’s nothing good in our nature either. We too, by nature, are corrupt and vile and godless.

But “We shall be like Him.” In spite of our frailty, in spite of our weaknesses, in spite of our compromises, in spite of the sins that so easily beset us, in spite of our hypocrisy, in spite of our mood swings, in spite of the lowest of our moments, in spite of the dishonesty and the pride and the envy that have plagued our lives, in spite of the lack of discipline, the lack of generosity, the lack of love for the Lord who loved us beyond words. “And we shall be like Him.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, once received a copy of Andrew Bonar’s commentary on Leviticus. He liked it so much that he sent it to Bonar and asked if he could have an autograph and a photograph. And Bonar replied with these words, “Dear Spurgeon, here is a book with an autograph and with my photograph. If you had been willing to wait a short season, you could have had a better likeness, for I shall be like Him.” And if you are trusting the Lord Jesus as your Savior tonight, you too, will be like Him. And there are no more amazing words in all of holy Scripture.

Let us stand to receive God’s benediction.

And now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you before His glorious presence, without fault, and with great joy, to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord before all ages, now and forevermore. And all God’s children said, “Amen.”

© 2017 First Presbyterian Church.

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