The Second Advent and Christlikeness

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.

1 John 3:2-3

The second coming (i.e., Second Advent) occurs when Christ returns in bodily form to receive the church and judge the nations. That coming is personal and real for we, the Christ-followers, will see him face-to-face and rejoice in his appearing. Knowing that one day we will see Jesus visibly, we are powerfully motivated to walk in holiness (1 John 3:2-3). Christ died on our behalf, the Holy Spirit changed our hearts; as result, God freed us from our bondage to live for him. In gratitude, we desire to please our Savior by our behavior. “No shame,” is the watchword for the expectation of Jesus’ coming (1 John 2:28). We desire our lives, attitudes, and actions to honor Christ upon his return.

Living in the reality of Christ’s return makes a difference in a Christian’s behavior. Since Christians someday will be like Him, a desire should grow within the Christian to become like Him now. That was Paul’s passion, expressed in Phil. 3:12–14 (see notes there). That calls for a purifying of sin, in which we play a part (see notes on 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Tim. 5:22; 1 Pet. 1:22).

John MacArthur, NKJV MacArthur Study Bible, Electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Word, 1998), 1 Jn 3:3.

Those who denounce the doctrine of the second advent as speculative, fanciful and unpractical, would do well to reconsider the subject. The doctrine was not so regarded in the days of the apostles. In their eyes, patience, hope, diligence, moderation, personal holiness, were inseparably connected with an expectation of the Lord’s return. Happy is the Christian who has learned to think with them! To be ever looking for the Lord’s appearing is one of the best helps to a close walk with God.

J.C. Ryle, Day by Day with J.C. Ryle, “Second Coming”, 281.

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