1 John 3:1-2
Posted December 09, 2013
3 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
John’s words here provide us a beautiful yet sobering reminder to us of a few things:
The Father shows us lavish love in calling us His children.
The Bible teaches us that we are not born as children of God, in right relationship to Him. We have all rebelled against our God and rejected Him. Through His Son Jesus, God implemented a rescue mission to save us from sin and death. Jesus died to make rebels children of God! That is why this verse is so shocking. We didn’t come to Him, He came for us. We would do well to meditate on this truth more. Once we were not the children of God, but in Christ we are! Once we were His enemies, but now we are not only at peace with Him, we are His children. This is nothing short of a miracle. His love toward us was “in spite of us” love and poured out on us through the work of His Son. In his commentary on 1 John, David Allen said this, “In his letters John frequently refers to Christians as “children” of God. On the other hand, Paul characteristically refers to Christians as “sons” of God. Both are true, of course. What is the difference? “Son” is something of a legal term describing our relationship with God through Christ. Christians have been declared to be “sons” of God; they have been adopted into the family legally. John does not use the term “sons”; rather he uses here the word “children.” This is a term that describes origin, birth, family relationship, family likeness, and family characteristics. We are the children of God.”
The world does not know us because it does not know the Father.
If we are truly children of God, then we bear our Father’s likeness. If the world does not know the Father, then why should we expect it to know us? For some reason we act surprised, forgetting the sort of response Jesus got when He came to earth (John 1:10-11) and what He promised His disciples as well (John 15:20-21). While we should not go out seeking rejection, we should absolutely expect there to be a different set of values held by those who are children of God and those who are in the world.
Though God’s children now, we will be like Him in His appearing.
God doesn’t merely give us a family name, but we are to progressively and ultimately bear His family likeness. When God appears in glory, His children are promised His likeness. How will we be like Him? The ESV Study Bible described it like this, “In eternity, Christians will be morally without sin, intellectually without falsehood or error, physically without weakness or imperfections, and filled continually with the Holy Spirit. But “like” does not mean “identical to,” and believers will never be (e.g.) omniscient or omnipotent as Christ is, since he is both man and God.” Though we bear His name & likeness now, we still sin and our bodies fall apart with sickness and old age. However, in His appearing is a promise that there will finally be an end to our struggles (both with sin and sickness)! We will finally be able to enjoy our God as we were intended to at the dawn of time… Indeed, “see what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God.”
Song by Ryan & Lisa Walker.
Production by Chris Clark.
Artwork by Amy Fuller (http://flint.io/).