1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
We don’t know everything about the future that is waiting for us on the other side of the grave. “What we will be has not yet been made known.” So what follows is just a glimpse, just a taste, based on what we know of our Jesus who lives again.
To be like Jesus is to be holy. That is the only way that we could stand to see him as he is. Otherwise, in all his heavenly glory, the sight of Jesus would destroy us.
Have you been itching to become holy? Holiness is one of those features of the life to come we might describe as an “acquired taste.” There aren’t any unbelievers seeking it. Generally, they want just the opposite. Is it something even we set our hearts on, something we strive for with all our might? “Lord, let me love each person perfectly, only serve others, be ever patient and never feel hurt or irritated by them, totally given over to helping everyone else.” If you are like me, such a desire has not consumed your every waking moment.
Even as faith warms our hearts to such an idea, we find it doesn’t come so easily to us now. When we are “like him,” then it won’t be a struggle, or a fight, or an effort to be so. Holiness will be as natural as breathing (even more so if you struggle from asthma or allergies now), or as natural as sleeping (even more so if you suffer from insomnia now).
If we are like Jesus, we will be powerful. That does not mean that we will be almighty like God is. In part, it means fully realizing the potential God built into human beings when he first designed us. It is said that we use only about 10 percent of our brains at the present time. The world’s great geniuses perhaps double that. Imagine what it would be like to have and use the whole thing.
Maybe there will be new powers. After he rose from the dead Jesus’ body could pass through walls. He could materialize and disappear from a place at will. Will getting around be different for us? So many of the pictures of Jesus in the book of Revelation depict him shining in his heavenly glory, illuminating heaven so that there is no need for the sun. The last chapter of Daniel promises that we will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and like the stars, forever and ever.
If we are like Jesus, then we know we will be immortal and imperishable. Since every pain or discomfort we suffer is a consequence of sin, a symptom of death, can you imagine what this will be like? To be sure, the great agony and torture and suffering will all be gone. But even the little discomforts and twinges will have all disappeared. You know that grogginess you feel in your head when you get up in the morning, and you didn’t get a great night’s sleep? Never again. Those sore eyes that are hard not to rub at the end of a long day. You will forget what that was like. You will drink something ice cold and refreshing, but never get brain freeze. If you eat something piping hot and delicious, you will never burn your tongue. Mosquito bites won’t itch, because I presume there won’t be mosquitoes, or if there are, they won’t bite. You won’t feel the ache that makes you want to stretch after you have been sitting or standing in one place too long. Before you start singing, you won’t have to clear your throat, and you will never have that little “tickle” that just won’t go away.
Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list. It isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. It’s just a taste, a glimpse, of what we will be because we will be like him, the risen Jesus, and see him as he is.
And if it has whet our appetite, and given us a faith that hungers for more, then this gospel taste has done its work.