Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.



1 John 3:2–3

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

John’s point in verse two seems simple enough. When He is revealed (in heaven or in the second coming) we’ll be transformed, because we shall see Him as He is.

But there’s a key detail with the word “see.” There are two Greek words translated as “see.”

Blepo (βλέπω “blep-oh”) means to look at something (literally “the activity of the eyes”). This is the word Matthew uses in Matthew 7:3a when Jesus says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye?” (ESV) (the NKJV translates blepo as, “look at” here.)

But 1 John 3:2 doesn’t use blepo; it uses horao (ὁράω “ho-rah-oh”). Horao is also translated as “see” but in a broader, more conceptual sense—more like notice, recognize, understand. For example, “see” is horao in Matthew 9:30b when Jesus tells the blind men he has just healed, “See that no one knows about it.

So, when He is revealed, we will do more than just behold Him with our eyes; we will understand—and be transformed into His likeness.

And “likeness” isn’t about physical appearance. Being like Him doesn’t mean we’ll look like Him. It’s way more than that.

Otherwise, we might as well think that we’re going to get Jesus’s hair color.

The prospect of being like Him is exciting, even if it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.

So, everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. But what does John mean by, “purifies” (ἁγνίζει “hag-ni-zay”)? What is this thing that all Christians do?

Fortunately, the BAGD lexicon lists a specific definition of Hag-ni-zay for 1 John 3:3—become pure through forgiveness of sins.

This isn’t some ritual Christians go through to purify themselves.

It’s justification unto sanctification.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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