AS JESUS IS, SO ARE WE, HIS FOLLOWERS, IN THIS WORLD
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.” — 1 John 4:17
The apostle John walked with Jesus and was His closest follower. John had deep insight into the character of His Lord, perhaps more so than any of the other apostles. His revelation knowledge of His Savior grew deeper with his passing years. Author of five books of the Bible, John offers us a richness and wisdom in his writings, and a profound understanding of the person of Jesus.
John writes that as Jesus is, so are we in this world. That is a radical statement that warrants exploring. As Jesus “is” implies the eternal, infinite existence of Christ… His divine and holy nature… His power over all evil… His resurrection to glory. He is and will forever be. His standing before God is perfect. He is one with the Father.
Is this true of us, His followers? “So are we” implies our oneness with Christ. We are united with Him and one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17). We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Because of His perfect sacrifice, we have right standing before the Father. Within us is the power that raised Christ from the dead. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. In the name of Jesus, we wield His power over all evil that comes against us. Because of His resurrection, we will be resurrected to eternal life, forever living in His holy presence.
“I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one — I in them and You in Me.“ — John 17:22-23
Does this mean we are perfect as He is perfect? We were made complete in Christ when we accepted His offer of salvation. He perfected us in the eyes of the Father. Our Heavenly Father sees Christ’s righteousness when He looks at us. He sees us as sinless, for only in this way can we have unity with His perfection.
We will never be absolutely perfect until we see Jesus “face to face” upon His return. We still struggle daily with our fallen nature. We still sin… yet we are working out our salvation on our road of sanctification. We are being made more perfect… more holy… more like Christ every day on our spiritual walk.
We are then like Jesus if His nature is within us and is revealed through us. “In this world” means that we live out this nature in the world daily in our lives. Everyone we meet, we hope, sees Christ in us. We are seen as different, set apart from the world to glorify Him. We are the hope and light of Christ in a world held captive by darkness.
“If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” — 1 John 4:12
Living for Jesus is both a responsibility and a privilege. We are responsible to show Jesus to an unbelieving world with His perfect love. By His love in our hearts, we recognize that we are His and we are known as His disciples. We spread His love to the world. As we show His Spirit of love, people will see Christ in us. We will reveal His reality to unbelievers.
We are not to dilute our witness by acting counter to His nature. We are united with Him and His Spirit dwells in us. His character is to shine through us into a dark world. Living kingdom values may encounter resistance and rejection. Yet our acceptance and approval comes from God not from the world.
“If anyone keeps His Word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” — 1 John 2:5
Jesus gives us the privilege of knowing Him and growing ever more Christlike in our character. Just as the apostles walked with Jesus and learned from Him, so we walk with Him on our spiritual journey. Through His Spirit, we gain wisdom. Through His Word, we learn discernment and revelation knowledge. He is our Shepherd who loves and protects us. He is our mighty Deliverer who saves us from the evil of the world.
“Our boldness in the day of judgment” means that we share in the privilege of being eternally protected. Our salvation and eternal future is in God’s hands. United with Christ, we are as safe as He is. God will never condemn those who are like His Son. When we truly comprehend this, we need never fear the future. His divine protection keeps us absolutely secure for all eternity.