(Excerpt from: “A Serious Word of Warning”)
I John 3:1-3 reads, “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.”
These verses allude to our relationship with God in the inner man. The world knows us not—that is, it does not recognize our true identity as the children of God—because our likeness to God is spiritual not physical. Unbelievers are ignorant of spiritual truth; they surely do not know God.
However, our present appearance is by no means permanent. Christ will return and when He appears we (the children of God) shall appear like Him, conformed to His perfection both internally and externally. Every true believer has this hope within and longs to be perfect, even though he knows that perfection will not be realized until Christ returns.
This truth of grace is that which the Holy Spirit uses to move the Apostle John to declare with all confidence, “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Everyone who is born again is anxious for Christ to return so that he might attain to perfection. But till that happens, each one of the people of God strives to purify himself from all that is contrary to godliness. The child of grace hungers for experiential righteousness, and until his Lord returns he watches against the uprising of dormant lusts and every thought that exalts itself against God. Spiritual complacency is foreign to him.