Confidence at Christ's Return - I John 2:28

Sunday, May 7, 2017

As we continue our study, I want us to look at (a) John's goal for his “little children” and (b) his instruction for reaching this goal.

What is the goal that John has for his readers (little children)? First, he wants us to have confidence at His coming. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (I John 2:28). Young’s Analytical Concordance defines the word translated “confidence” here to mean “boldness.” It means assurance, bold, confident.  It is the same word used in Acts 4:13 to show the boldness of Peter and John before the council. It is used in Acts 9:27 to show the boldness of Paul's preaching. This word is  translated: boldness (8), confidence (6), boldness of speech (1), plainness of speech (1). [Note: The numbers indicate the number of times it is translated this way.]  Even now, in Christ, we can have boldness and access to God with confidence. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Eph. 3:12). The word translated “boldness” in this verse is the same word translated “confidence” in our text; while the word translated “confidence” here comes from a slightly different Greek word meaning “confident persuasion.” See also Hebrews 4:14-16.  Therefore, it is John's goal for us to have the same “confidence” at the return of Christ, that we are able to possess now! Just as we can now confidently approach God's throne of grace, so then we can stand with confidence before Christ's throne of judgment.

Second, he wants us to not be “ashamed” when He comes. “Ashamed” comes from a word which means to be ashamed; to feel shame; to blush, be embarrassed. It is the word which is used to describe the unjust steward's attitude toward begging (Luke 16:3). See also II Corinthians 10:8; Philippians 1:20, and I Peter 4:16. To be “ashamed” is just the opposite of having “boldness” and “confidence.” John does not want us to be ashamed of ourselves when Christ returns. To stand before Jesus upon His return, with confidence and no shame, is John's goal for his “little children.” As a Christian, and as a reader of John's letter, you and I are one of his “little children,” and John wants that for us as well.

How do we reach this goal? What is John's instruction for reaching it? “Abide in Him.” Here is the key to being able to have “confidence” at Christ's return. This is the answer if we do not want to be “ashamed” when He returns. How does one abide in Christ? Abiding in Christ involves letting His Word abide in us, as John stated earlier in verse 24 and as explained by Jesus Himself in John 14:21, 23 and John 15:10. Letting His Word abide in us, therefore, involves two important concepts: (a) That we know His Word; (b) That we keep His word. I am persuaded that the lack of confidence among many Christians comes as a result of not knowing the words of Christ. It is somewhat like the apprehension one may have before taking a test. Not having studied properly the material, naturally they don't know it very well. But when one has studied and mastered the material, he has confidence going into the test. When we do not read and study God's Word, the Bible, it is understandable why we would be apprehensive about being judged by it! (John 12:48). But the solution to not knowing God's word is really a very simple one. Read and study! (II Tim. 2:15; II Pet. 1:5; I Tim. 4:13; Eph. 5:17; 3:4). Why not resolve now to do a better job in this respect? It is not enough to know, we must also keep His Word (Matt. 7:21, 24-27; Rev. 22:14). Only one who “doeth righteousness” is truly “born of Him” and is abiding in Him (v. 29). But if you “know” what Jesus taught, it is not that hard to do what He says! (I John 5:3). When you add to this the promise of I John 1:7, then the Christian has every reason to have “confidence.” Paul M. Wilmoth