“Who is Jesus to you?” Before she became a follower of Christ, one friend thought that was an odd question. How would you answer it? Is he your Savior? Is he your Lord? Can he be one without being the other?
Humanly speaking, John spent as much time with Jesus as any of the disciples. He knew he was loved by Jesus. The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world, including John’s. John stood beneath the shadow of the cross. He could never forget Jesus’ atonement for his own sins. He reminded Christians that when we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father. The ascended Christ not only frees us from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin.
Too many Christians act like Jesus’ work of salvation ends with justification. John wrote in vv. 3-6 about sanctification. When we know the price Jesus paid for our sins this makes us want to obey him. The sure sign of our salvation is our ongoing sanctification. Jesus had changed John’s life from a “son of thunder” to the beloved disciple. Once he had offered to call down lightning to destroy a Samaritan village. Now he writes about loving others. Where did he learn that? Jesus.
The goal of the Christian life is to become like Jesus. We know we live in him as we begin to live as Jesus did. Jesus cannot be our Savior without being our Lord. He is who he is. The two functions come in one perfect Person. Once we are forgiven, our supernatural transformation makes us want to leave sin behind. Who is Jesus to you? If he has justified you, he wants to sanctify you. We are free from sin’s penalty. Through the Holy Spirit we are being set free from sin’s power. Someday, we will be free from sin’s presence. And all of this through Jesus.