1 John 3:2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear…
The word "now" is to me the most prominent word in the text, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." They who love religion love a present thing. The Christian who really seeks salvation will never be happy unless he can say, "Now am I a child of God." That word "now" which is the sinners warning is to the Christian his greatest delight.
I. I shall commence by endeavouring to show that religion must be a thing of the present, because THE PRESENT HAS SUCH INTIMATE CONNECTIONS WITH THE FUTURE. We are told in Scripture that this life is a seed time, and the future is the harvest, "He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting." But again, this life is always said in Scripture to be a preparation for the life to come. "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." This life is as the vestibule of the king's court, we must put our shoes from off our feet; we must wash our garments and make ourselves ready to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. How are we saved? All through Scripture we are told we are saved by faith, except in one passage, wherein it is said, we are saved by hope. Now note how certain it is that religion must be a present thing if we are saved by faith, because faith anal hope cannot live in another world. "What a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"
II. In the second place, as I have shown the connection between the present and the future, let me use another illustration to show THE IMPORTANCE OF A PRESENT SALVATION. Salvation is a thing which brings present blessings. "Unto them which are saved, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." He does not say to them who shall be saved, but to them which are saved. We know too that justification is a present blessing — "there is therefore now no condemnation." Adoption is a present blessing, for it says, "Now are we the sons of God," we know also that sanctification is a present blessing, for the apostle addresses himself to "the saints who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called." All the blessings of the new covenant are spoken of in the present tense, because with the exception of eternal glory in heaven, they are all to be enjoyed here. A man may know in this life, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he is accepted in Christ Jesus. Yet I am inclined to think that the worldly man most of all objects to present religion because he does not like its duties. Men will not direct a single eye to religion, because it curtails license and entails duties. And this, I think, proves that religion is a present thing, because the duties of religion cannot be practised in another world, they must be practised here. Now, what are the duties of religion? hi the first place, here are its active duties, which a man should do between man and man, to walk soberly and righteously and uprightly in the midst of an evil generation. Lightly as some people speak about morality, there is no true religion where there is no morality. You have hard struggles to pass through life. Sometimes you have been driven to a great extremity, and whether you would succeed or not seemed to hang upon a thread. Has not your religion been a joy to you in your difficulties? Has it not calmed your minds? When you have been fretted and troubled about worldly things, have you not found in a pleasant thing to enter your closet, and shut to the door, and tell your Father in secret all your cares? And oh, ye that are rich, cannot you bear the same testimony, if you have loved the blaster? What had all your riches been to you without a Saviour? I fear that there are a great many of you who will say, "Well, I care nothing at all about religion; it is for no avail to me!" No, and it is very probable that you will not care about it until it shall be too late to care.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
WEB: Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him; for we will see him just as he is.