1 John 3:3
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Every genuine Christian possesses a certain hope in Christ concerning his future restoration to the image of Christ. The apostle John mentioned it in an earlier verse – “But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (v. 2). This hope of being made like unto Christ at His coming has a great influence on every Christian’s thinking and practice.
What impact does the certainty of the Christian’s future transformation to the image of Christ have on him? The apostle John says that everyone who has this hope in Christ purifies himself. Being encouraged by the promise of his complete restoration at the coming of Christ, every Christian daily seeks his purification. The possession of this hope promotes personal holiness in every Christian. Being enthused by the hope of meeting Christ and of being like Him, the cultivation of personal purity is not an unpleasant obligation, but a delightful pursuit of life.
The hope of being like the Saviour stirs the Christian’s heart to hate every besetting sin. He not only confesses his sins and seeks the forgiveness of God, but also fights off the temptations of sin. Overcoming his evil propensities and maintaining purity are his chief pursuits of life. He then makes every effort to become pure. The apostle Peter exhorted in 2 Peter 3:14, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Purity of thought and imagination are very crucial to every Christian who lives in the hope of Christ. Purity of word and purity of conduct are also pursued with uttermost diligence. With prayer, Christians exercise themselves unto godliness. The apostle Paul says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).
The standard of purity for all Christians is Jesus Christ. So they strive to be pure, “even as he is pure”. John earlier exhorted every Christian that he “ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6). Christ is pure, so all His followers strive for purity as they await His sudden appearance in the clouds. Hence Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us, “Follow … holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”.