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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Everyone Who Has This Hope (1 John 3.3)
Date Posted: June 29, 2021

Hope speaks of the future. Hope speaks optimistically. Hope is always positive. “Hope that is seen is not hope.” (Romans 8.24b). Hope is not passive. Hope is founded on or in something other than oneself.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

The hope about which John wrote was a specific hope. It was not merely a wish or a desire. Rather, it was a particular hope founded in Jesus Christ. Notice that the New King James translators properly capitalized the word Him in today's focus text. The hope which causes a man to purify himself is the hope that is rooted in someone greater than himself; it is rooted in Jesus Christ. It motivates, yea compels its adherents to act in a way that emulates the One in whom their hope is founded.

Bear with me a moment and discover a point that is not so obvious in modern English texts. We turn our attention to the title of today's message, Everyone Who Has This Hope. Specifically, we will notice the verb has. If I loan my pen to Andy and you ask me if I have a pen, I might say, “No, Andy has it.” However, in this case Andy's possession is short lived. He has it, but only for a limited time. However, if you ask me if I have a pen and I say, “No, but Andy has one,” the verbs are the same. In the second case Andy's possession is related to ownership. He has the pen and he intends to continue having it. This is an issue with tenses in modern English that was not so knotty in our forefather's speech. They might have said, in the first case, “Andy has a pen,” while saying in the second case, “Andy hath a pen.” The difference is subtle but meaningful. In fact, this is precisely the phrase that the King James translators of 1611 chose to express our focus text. “Every man that hath this hope...” expresses ownership and an ongoing relationship between the man and the hope that he possesses.

The man who purifies himself is the man who possesses (now and ongoing) this hope that is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ. This is the nature of a person who continues to hope in Him. The hopeful believer understands that he/she has an obligation to be transformed from day to day into the image of the One upon whom and in whom hope is anchored. In fact, Paul expressed this very fact in 2 Corinthians 3.18 by saying, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Our jobs as believers, is to constantly consider the reflection of Jesus Christ and transform ourselves into a similar image. This is the purifying that occurs on a day to day basis as we seek to become like Him, not in body, but in purity of spirit. We will be (future tense) like Him in body; that is a given of the former verses in 1 John 3, but we are becoming like him now even as we are compelled to do so through the hope that resides within us!

Now to close with some brief thoughts on the purification that occurs in the man of hope. Purification in the Old Testament was ceremonial. It typically required sacrifices at a literal altar. In the Current Era, purification occurs as Peter indicated. “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth...” Truth has a special ring to the believer; it is necessary to purification and it is necessary to ongoing hope!

Questions:

1. What did Paul mean when he wrote, “...hope that is seen is not hope”?

2. What is the difference in the believer who has hope for a short period of time and the one who continues (present and ongoing; he/she hath hope) to have hope?

3. How are we to become like the image of Christ? How can we know what He was like? How can we know how He would react to life's challenges? What place do the Scriptures have in this transformation?

4. What did Peter mean when he talked about obeying the truth? Isn't truth just a set of facts? How can one obey truth?

"Point of Reference" from Fred Price

What is man that you are mindful of him? Ps. 8:4

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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