1 John 2:28-29
Abide in Him
Our Lord is coming again. This time in which we live is the time of grace in which men may repent and believe. Indeed, the Apostle Peter would have us to know that if our Lord seem slow in coming, it is only because he desires all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). But this time between his first and second comings is likewise a time of grace for believers as well that they may prepare themselves for his return. This is the time in which believers mortify the flesh and live the new life in Christ which we have been given. As John says, we are to practice righteousness and love the brethren. Paul would call it producing the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24). However you phrase it, Christians need to be living lives worthy of our Lord in the here and now before he comes back.
And why is this? John tells us: “So that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” How awful would that be! To be ashamed upon his return! To be caught not living a godly life and minding the things of heaven! Such would be the ultimate shame for the believer.
And Jesus warns us of these exact matters. He warns in one place that we must be ready at every watch of the night and tells of the “manager” he set over his household who said in his heart, “My master is delayed in his coming,” and who then began to abuse his fellow-servants, and how when the master did come, he “cut [the faithless servant] in pieces and put him with the unfaithful” (Luke 12:35-48). Our Lord tells another famous parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five foolish, the foolish forgetting to bring extra oil for their lamps and who when they went to town to by extra missed the bridegroom and his procession and were thus locked outside the door (Matthew 25:1-13). Or the parable of the lazy one who buried his master’s money in the earth so as not to take the risk of Christian witness and persecution (Matthew 25:14-30). And we are indeed foolish if we short-circuit these warnings of our Lord with personal assurances of perseverance when we are doing nothing to persevere. Regeneration is all of the Lord, but sanctification requires that we join him in his work and is proof of our profession. Let us hear the warning and not fool ourselves.
And this is John’s meaning when he says, “Everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him,” not meaning anyone who is merely moral, but that a believer’s life is proved by his righteous deeds.