I John 3:1-5 “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.”
Text I John 3:3 “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
The Apostle John is writing to those that makeup the churches spread across Asia Minor. Within this portion of his letter he emphasizes the thoughts of a hope. Hope plays an important role in the life of the believer with respect to conversion, “For we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:24), courage, “hope maketh not ashamed” (Romans 5:5), confidence, “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (I Thessalonians 4:13) and calling, “hope of his calling” (Ephesians 1:18); just to name a few! Within the text John declares a hope that emphasizes a coming, “when he shall appear” and a change, “we shall be like him.” The hope that John is declaring has an effect upon one’s heart and habits; there is a difference when one is living with hope! There are three things within our text worthy of consideration.
The first thing is the subjects of hope, “And every man that hath this hope in him.” At first glance it appears that everybody is going to heaven and the devil would like to make all men believe it is so. The problem with this type of theology is it just isn’t so! The qualifying condition to be met for one to be part of this group is that they must be in possession of hope. When John said, “hath this hope”; the word “hath” means to hold, accompany, or to be in possession of. The only ones that are in possession of this type of hope are those “called the sons of God” and “now are we the sons of God.” As one of the “sons of God”, John was living with hope; “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The second thing to consider is the sanctification of hope, “hath this hope in him purifieth himself.” The word “purifieth” means to make clean, purify self, to consecrate; a purification required for the priests in divine service and expected of all God’s people. The hope that is associated with a salvation that is “by grace . . . through faith” (Ephesians 2:8), not only converts but cleans; past, present, and future! Titus speaking of this grace that wrought salvation said, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
The final thing to consider is the standard of hope, “purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The standard is not determined by man, but rather the Master! John said, “and in him is no sin.” The writer of Hebrews said of the standard, “who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens” (Hebrews 7:26). The heart that is in tune with the “hope in him” has a conscious desire to be pure “even as he is pure.”
Within our text John reminds us of a hope, but not just any hope! It is a hope that identifies with the possession of hope in salvation, a purity of hope in sanctification, and a person of hope in the Sovereign! Like John, we are to be living with hope!