So far, John’s has fulfilled two purposes in the epistle we know as 1 John. He wanted to expose false teachers and their distortions of truth. Additionally, he offered words of reassurance to those who were staying the course. While much of John’s exhortation is polemic, he real goal is to build up his readers and enlarge their faith. He does not want them to waver but rather desired that they would live their faith with boldness and courage. He did this in three ways.
First, John called his readers to live with confidence. 1 John 2:28-29 reads as follows: “And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.” The word return (parousia) was originally used for the arrival of a ruler or celebrity, usually accompanied by celebration. It was adopted by New Testament authors to describe the second advent of Christ. Christ’s return holds the promise of setting all things right and identifying those who truly belong to him. This glorious return will produce two reactions. There will be those who are confident, having lived their lives in a state of righteousness and readiness. But then there will be those who will experience shame. Like teenagers whose parents come home a day early from vacation, not everyone who loves the Lord is going to be excited to see him.
As Christians we are like restaurant managers. They know the health inspector is coming, they just don’t know what day he or she will arrive. They can operate the restaurant with the expectation that at any moment the health inspector will walk through the door so they do their best to make sure everything is in order and functioning properly. Otherwise, they are ashamed and embarrassed by the citation.
John’s desire was that his readers would be ready. Are you? Tomorrow I’ll pick up the next section beginning in chapter 3.