Read: 1 John 2:28-3:3

One of the great hopes in the second coming of Christ is that we’d fully and finally recognize true love. Everything that our hearts crave right now in terms of the love that we long for, the Scriptures assure us, will be satisfied in Christ.

In verse 29 John tells his readers that if we believe that Christ is righteous, then by faith, we also receive that righteousness. Not only do we receive the righteousness of Christ, we actually begin to act it out, to live out in this righteousness. And then it is almost as if John pauses, like he remembers a truth that alters the core of who he is. In 3:1, you can almost hear John preaching if you listen closely enough: Beloved, see what kind of love the Father has for us, that we should be called children of God?!? What an underserved privilege, what glorious hope, what mystery of faith. We receive the righteousness of Christ, live in this righteousness, and then, when he appears, receive the love of the Father.

There are many things in the Christian life that don’t make a ton of sense to me; one of them is the love of God. I long to know this love truly and deeply, and even begin to understand what it means to be a child of God. As a father, I can get this picture in fragments. I love my girls, all three of them. In fact, I’m convinced that I love them far more than they love me!!! This doesn’t hurt my heart though. I’m not sure they can love me with the depth and ferocity that I love them. They’re kids! They can’t understand the love that I have for them. It is something natural, something instinctual, something … Divine.

I love them, literally, because they’re mine. I actually personally don’t really like kids! However, my kids… I love them so, so much, more than mere words can project. And, God says that we are his children. If you’re a parent, think of the love that you have for your child. If you’re not a parent, imagine it — it’s something that you can’t really explain. Words fail, as love transcends our human language.

Now, recognize this sobering fact: we are wicked parents, with perverted love, compared to the love of the true and better Father. Jesus was telling us about God’s love in Matthew 7. He said that if a child asked for a fish, you wouldn’t give him a serpent. Why? Because that’s just wicked (though sort of funny too!). He then goes on to say, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

Friends, imagine the love you have for your children, and then recognize that this is frail human love. It is faulty. (If you don’t think it is, next time your kid screams and cries from 12:35 a.m. to 2:17 a.m., tell me how pure this love is!) Not so with the love of the true and greater Father. God loves us so much that He sends His son; God loves us so much that he adopts us when we’re troubled kids; God loves us so much that one day He will return and display this love perfectly, fully, and completely.

One day, at the return of Christ, the love that our hearts crave will be fully revealed. One day, we will know true love. One day, we will be righteous as he is righteous, pure as he is pure, see Him completely, and yes, we will be loved as He is love! Lord, would that day come soon! Come quickly, our great Father and King.

– Tory Mayo

Part of the Advent: The Coming King, Devotional Guide in 2017