Summary: 1) The Person of God (1 John 2:29), 2) The Parousia/Return of God (1 John 2:28, 3:2), 3) The Provision of God (1 John 3:1, 3)
After a recent national referendum held on the question of Britain’s future within the European Union, the “Brexit,” short for “British exit”, vote prevailed, sending financial markets worldwide into a tailspin. The result has left people wondering about the future of political cooperation, international trade, domestic production as well as personal concerns from job prospects to pension concerns. There is diminishing hope that these concerns will resolve themselves anytime soon.
People seek hope from various venues, but one that has endured through time is spiritual hope. The concept of spiritual hope is analogous to turning on a blazing light in a dark place. It immediately illuminates one’s outlook, uplifts the soul, and produces joy in the heart. Hope introduces life and happiness into this sin-stained and death-filled world (cf. Ps. 146:5; Prov. 10:28; Rom. 5:1–2; 12:12; 15:13; Gal. 5:5; 2 Thess. 2:16; Heb. 3:6). Yet, sadly, most people in this world know nothing of the advantages and privileges that true hope brings. Unbelievers simply do not have “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Heb. 6:19). In fact, all they have are superficial sources of security—things like narcotics, alcohol, sex, entertainment, materialism, surface-level relationships, and a human-centered desire for a better future. But all of these false hopes are only spiritual mirages that instantly vanish when this life ends (Job 8:13; 27:8; 31:24–28; Prov. 10:28; cf. Eph. 2:12). For the world, “hope” is a mere wish based on a desire or plan,
Biblical hope is not a wish but an absolute future reality guaranteed by the Lord. God always speaks the truth and is faithful to all His Word. Hope is not only foundational to Christian doctrine and the believer’s confidence, but it also has immense ethical implications. Genuine hope will purify the lives of those who possess it (3:3), and thereby verify that they are Christians.
In 1 John 2:28-3:3 the apostle John presents a factual and unchanging reality whereby believers in Christ can truly fix their hope on Him. He shows this through an explanation of 1) The Person of God (1 John 2:29), 2) The Parousia/Return of God (1 John 2:28, 3:2) and finally showing 3) The Provision of God (1 John 3:1, 3)
Believers in Christ can truly fix their hope on:
1) The Person of God (1 John 2:29),
1 John 2:29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (ESV)
The new birth is inevitably and necessarily accompanied by righteousness (cf. Rom. 6:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:10; 4:24). By the same token, all who only profess to be saved but do not demonstrate any tangible fruit of righteousness prove that they are actually unforgiven and have an empty false hope (cf. Luke 6:43–44; James 2:26). Such individuals can make no legitimate claim to eternal promises, since their lives betray a heart that is still unregenerate. Righteous conduct is not a condition for rebirth but a consequence of it (Barker, G. W. (1981). 1 John. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 330). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)
The apostle John asserts first that if believers know (oida) that God is righteous. They should know—not by experience but by instruction—that God is righteous. They can recognize and be sure (ginoskō) that that everyone also who practices righteousness is reflecting His life (cf. 1 Peter 1:13–16); that is, they are born of Him (1 Peter 1:3; cf. John 3:7,). To know (oida) has the sense of perceiving an absolute truth. As they recognize this absolute truth, they experience the impact and are sure of it, by experience,” “recognize,” or “come to perceive.” Thus John reiterates the point that real believers are not verified so much by what they claim as by how they live (Rom. 6:18; cf. Luke 1:6). In 1 John 2:28, the apostle John looks from the effect (righteous behavior) to the cause (the new birth) and shows that righteous living—not mere outward profession—evidences the fact that regeneration has truly taken place (James 2:20, 26; 2 Peter 3:11; cf. Rom. 14:17). He is affirming that “family likeness” is revealed by righteous conduct (Derickson, G. W. (2012). First, Second, and Third John. (H. W. House, W. H. Harris III, & A. W. Pitts, Eds.) (1 Jn 2:29). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press )
Please turn to Romans 12
Of course, John’s call to personal holiness was not a new concept. The book of Leviticus repeatedly sets forth God’s standard of purity and righteousness (e.g., 18:4–5, 30; 19:2, 37; 20:7, 26; 22:32). In the New Testament, Paul’s letters continually exhort believers to pursue holiness. Those who are born of Him have both an identity and responsibility that is consistent with their privileges as God’s children (Akin, D. L. (2001). 1, 2, 3 John (Vol. 38, p. 127). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).