Volume. XXVIII, No. 17
Sunday, 27 October 2013


OUR GLORIOUS ADOPTION PART 3 ITS PURIFYING HOPE


(This article was published on 12 May 2013 in the weekly of New Life B-P Church, London. It is by Rev Richard Brooks. Reprinted with permission from Free Church Witness magazine dated September 2007)

The last of three devotional articles based on 1 John 3:1-3, originally delivered at the 2006
School in Theology at Larbert.

"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John 3: 1-3

You sometimes hear people described as ‘hopeless cases’ or ‘no hopers’. What a desolate thought! Yet the truth of the matter is that every one of us, left to ourselves, is a hopeless case’. We have, by nature, ‘no hoper’ written all over us. But the glory of God’s grace to sinners in the Gospel is precisely this: ‘hopeless cases’ are given hope; ‘no hopers’ are born again by the Holy Spirit, redeemed from sin by the precious blood of Christ, reconciled to God and adopted into his family. Everything is turned around completely whenever anyone becomes a Christian; and not least in this crucial matter of hope. We are given a new hope, a firm hope, a good hope, a sure hope, a precious hope, a true hope, a lasting hope, an eternal hope.

We saw something in the previous article of the Christian’s hope, focussed in our likeness to God (‘we shall be like him’) and our vision of God (‘we shall see Him as He is’). But John does not leave things there in his treatment of us being children of God. He proceeds in 3:3 to make a very important and a very specific application of this hope: we should prepare now for the fulfilment of it, we should live now in the light of it. How? In the way of it being a powerful stimulus and a consistent motivation to us in our pursuit of holiness. This hope, arising directly from our adoption, is the hope that purifies. Or it should be!

It runs like this. ‘And every man that hath this hope in him [‘him’ refers to God the Father] purifieth himself, even as he is pure’ [the ultimate reference of ‘he’ is to ‘God in Christ’: ‘he’ at the end of verse 3 is literally ‘that one’].

Two things stand out.

Firstly, the work God’s children must perform

In a word, we are to purify ourselves. And this is a work, which involves labour, cost, tears and effort. J C Ryle has a phrase: ‘no gains without pains’. It applies here. The word ‘purify’ is a very active and positive verb. It is not the same as (for example) ‘wash’ or ‘cleanse’. It goes deeper. It gets ‘under the skin’. It carries a sense of ‘through-and- through-ness’. It involves sin shunned, sin voided, sin steered clear of, sin parted company with, sin mortified, sin rooted out. It is ‘root and branch’. It is not just, ‘Lord, cleanse me from my sin’ (vital plea though that is). It is rather, ‘Lord, take away my very love of sinning’. And (and this is John’s point in context) it is inspired and driven by the hope that we have of being like God and beholding the face of God.

John is not alone in this. It is the united call and testimony of Scripture. We hear it from Paul: ‘Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2Cor.7:1; and we could add 1Thess.5:22 for good measure, ‘Abstain from all appearance of evil’). We hear it from James: ‘Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded’ (Jas.4:8), remembering that James is writing to believers.

And we hear it from Peter: ‘As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as he which hath  called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy’ (1Pet.1:14-16); to which we could add 2:11 as well, ‘Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul’.

This work is a work which must be done and which can be done. All the strength, grace and enabling is available from on high to perform it. We are not left to our own devices. But the actual work itself is ours to do. As for how we go about it, dwell upon the following few practical helps for the mortification of sin.
Stay close to the Scriptures. Remember that God’s Word is not only His saving Word. It is His sanctifying Word as well. Jesus prayed for us to the Father in this way: ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth’ (Jn.17:17).
Keep a close watch upon your heart affections, lest anything ‘oust’ the Lord Jesus Christ from the primary and central place. Guard the ‘gates’: eye-gate, ear-gate, mouthgate and so on.
Be continually in prayer.
Recall your adoption. Never forget that you are a child of God and should live accordingly.    
 Seek to suppress sin at its first rising. Give it no quarter!
Do not be put off by failure. One of onathan Edwards’ ‘Resolutions’ goes like this:
‘Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be’ (my italics).   
Make as much as you possibly can of the Lord Jesus Christ. Robert Murray

M’Cheyne gave what has become an oft-quoted counsel in connection with self-examination,     mortification and the like: that for every one look we take at ourselves, we should be sure to take at least ten looks at Christ.

Secondly, the pattern God’s children must follow

It is this: ‘even as he is pure’. What is this?  Nothing less than Christ being formed in us. Our passion and aim as the adopted sons and daughters of God is not to be ‘a little better than we were’ or ‘a little holier than everyone else’, but to be as much like our God and Saviour as it is possible to be. We are to set our sights so high, that they could scarcely be any higher! ‘He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked’ (1 John 2:6).

One of my very best ‘friends on my bookshelves’ is Octavius Winslow (1808-1878). Let him have the final two words. Here is the first. ‘It is not strange that the fact of his adoption should meet with much misgiving in the Christian’s mind, seeing that it is a truth so spiritual, flows from a source so concealed, and has a seat in the profound recesses of the soul. The very stupendousness of the relationship staggers our belief’.

And here is the second. Extolling (for God’s glory and for our encouragement and assurance) the all-sufficiency of the God who is our Father and whose children we are, Winslow writes: ‘There is in Him an all-sufficiency of love to comfort us; an all-sufficiency of strength to uphold us; an all-sufficiency of power to protect us; an all-sufficiency of good to satisfy us; an all-sufficiency of wisdom to guide us; an all-sufficiency of glory to reward us; and an all-sufficiency of bliss to make us happy there, and happy to all eternity. Such is the inheritance to which as children of God we are the heirs’.

(With permission from New Life BPC, London)

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Welcome back: Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki
*Worship Services from 10 Nov will be at The Stone Mansion, DV.
*Christmas Concert rehearsals - participants please come a few minutes before starting time.
*Repair work in Sanctuary & library continues.
*Special Working Bee next Saturday: volunteers needed to help to prepare the Sanctuary for Worship Services.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies: Rev George van Buuren (Qld); Ps Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Bro Ngie Joo & Sis Sooi Chin Gong; Sisters Mary Ting (Adl), Xandrea Cai (S Korea), Peng Ha Yeo (KL) & Amy Wong; Bros Raymond Ang & Daniel Volvricht (NT/Adl); & others who are travelling.  
God’s provision: place for worship (St Augustine’s) while demolition and repairs are being carried out.
Full time job for next year: Sis Clara Sim
Church Activities in the past week.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Visitors & new worshippers.
Thanksgiving today: Maranatha BPC (S’pore) - 23rd Anniversary.

Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward (post-op recovery) & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong, Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Sylvia White & Sis Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Bro Yaw Chiew Tan (Chemotherapy): Bro Edwin D’Mello’s sister (Jennifer) with Dengue fever; Sis Margaret Pearson  - healing, rehab & health & Sis Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing).
iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo (Sihanoukville)
Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki. Ps Ki’s sponsorship & UK visa issues.
Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng.  
Journey mercies: All those travelling overseas/interstate.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Xiao Hui Chye, & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.
Australian PR Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth).
Hope BPC - new Pastor; God’s wisdom & encouragement for 7th Session & congregation.
Year 12 students: for strength & encouragement in their studies.
Federal, State & Territory Parliaments not to pass laws favouring same sex marriages.
Repairs at Sanctuary & library to be completed without delays, accidents & problems.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063