1 John 3:2 “Dear friends, now we are 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.”
For all the love that God lavishes on us now, we would not be satisfied if this were all there is, and God himself has promised us there is more to come. I find it interesting to think that as children in our earthly families, we spend our early lives at home, and we leave home when we grow up. But as children of God you and I have spent our entire existence away from home, and we are still waiting for the day when we see home for the first time. It’s almost as if this world were the hospital in which we were born, and the Lord hasn’t taken us home from the hospital yet. As we look forward to that day, we know God loves us as we anticipate what we will be.
Perhaps you have thought to yourself, “Shouldn’t being one of God’s own children make a bigger difference than I currently experience?” And the answer to that question is, “Yes, it makes a much bigger difference, but we have to wait for heaven to see completely what a difference it will make.”
John reminds us that what we will be has not yet been made known. That’s not to say we know nothing at all about the changes in store for God’s children when we reach heaven, only that the picture is still incomplete. Does that trouble you? I don’t think that it is hard to understand if we have ever tried to explain an experience to someone who has never seen anything like it before.
Years ago my wife and I read the “Little House” books to our daughter. Every once in a while Laura Ingalls Wilder will describe some kitchen tool or piece of furniture we don’t use anymore, and my daughter would ask, “What is that?” Sometimes I’ve seen antiques like it and could explain. But as good as Wilder is at painting word pictures, sometimes I had to shrug my shoulders and admit, “I really can’t tell you what she’s talking about.”
What we will be like in heaven is a little that way. If the Lord tried to give us the details, we wouldn’t be able to understand them anyway. We may speculate about how our bodies will be changed. We would like our nose to be a little smaller, our ears to stick out a little less. We hope, perhaps, that a few of these pounds won’t follow us to heaven, and we are happy that we will be able to throw away our glasses and get rid of all our medications. We know we can look forward to some physical changes, though the Lord never goes into much detail about them. He considers it enough to tell us our bodies will be made imperishable.
But the changes which can fill us with even greater anticipation are those John hints at in the words that follow. “But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We are God’s children. Jesus is God’s one and only Son. If we want to know what changes are in store for us in heaven, the best indication is to look at the family member already there. We will be like Jesus–perfect in purity, and perfect in love. That may not seem such a tantalizing existence to those who have never really wrestled with their sins or looked down the bottomless pit of their own corrupt human nature. But for us beginning to see how sin has infected and corrupted every feature of life, nothing could possibly hold out greater promise or appeal.
We will be perfectly pure like Jesus–no lost tempers, no petty self-pity, no secret indulgences: nothing to ever feel guilty for again! Even now, God may love me “just as I am without one plea,” but he loves us too lavishly to leave us that way. He won’t be finished with his children until they are all home in heaven. There we will look just like Jesus, and see him as he is.