We Shall see Him as He Is: 1 John 3:1-3

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 herself as he is pure.

(1 John 3:1-3, paraphrased from the English Standard Version.)

This is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture to me. God–the Father of all, as J.R.R. Tolkien names God in The Silmarillion–will appear, and with him, the form of the children of God, the form so precious to God that the imprisonment of everyone to disobedience (Romans 11:32) was worth it all. And even further still, by some miracle, “we shall be like him.”

The offer to be like God, the ancient serpent’s false offer to Adam and Eve, will actually be fulfilled by the true, great, and precious purpose of God Himself. The father of lies will surrender to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The prowling lion will be defeated by the Lion of Judah. He who is in the world is lesser than He who is in us.

God Himself, through the hope-giving of the Holy Spirit, will purify us as he is pure, so that when he appears we shall be like him.

I can only exclaim with Paul the Apostle,

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

(Rom. 11:33-36 ESV)

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:29 ESV)