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. 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. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Love One Another
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
1 John 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
This chapter is chock full of incredible truths. Statement after statement rings out about the love of God through Jesus. This powerful love transforms who we are and how we see ourselves as well as our interaction with others.
Through all the amazing proclamations and challenges given here, I kept coming back to one word – children. God’s love for us is so great, has been lavished upon us so heavily. He calls us His children.
By definition lavish means – cover something thickly or liberally with; to give extravagant quantities upon.
God loves us so much, he covers us liberally with that love and extravagantly gives and gives to us. He went out to the streets, walked the roads and ugly areas of life to find us. And there in the shadows, he pulled us from the darkness, he took us from the garbage pile that had been home, he removed us from the street corners where we sold ourselves over and over again. He embraced us in the filth then took us to His home where He washed us up, gave us new clothes. But even deeper still, he went and did something completely unexpected. We as orphans were called His children. He adopted us.
This is a totally unnecessary and unexpected act of God. His love goes far beyond that of salvation of our souls to such a deep love for us; we are in His family. What a picture of grace and deep desire.
I have a friend who when she entered the more rebellious teen years her Dad had a sit-down. It went as expected – she acted indifferent to what he was saying, but truly she was listening. His words would ring in her mind many a time following. In fact, some 35 years later, she still hears them. Now to be fair here, the dad was frustrated but he wanted her to know who she represented.
“If you get pulled over, I get pulled over. If you go to jail, I go to jail, and if you act inappropriately at a friend’s house, I act inappropriately. Who you are and what you do is a direct representation of me. So if you choose to be foolish in your decisions, your name goes in the paper or whatnot, so does mine. Your behavior is a direct reflection of me.”
Wise words. My friend still vividly remembers this conversation and as she said helped her make a few, just a few, right choices.
As John continues the theme of us being God’s children, he writes clearly that as we’ve been called His children, we are a direct reflection of Him and His name. How well are you doing as a representative of your Father?
1 John 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
This really is an incredible chapter! It’s hard to summarize these thoughts in just a few paragraphs. I was really drawn to the first several verses that speak to believers being children of God.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.1 John 3:1-2 NASB
We are God’s children, not because of anything that we’ve accomplished, but because He created and called us. He gave us life. We are also children in the sense that He is growing and maturing us into “spiritual adults.” Though miraculous, the birth is not the pinnacle of that baby’s existence. The role of parents is to nurture and mature that baby through the various stages of development and into adulthood. It’s out of love that parents discipline and draw boundaries for their children.
But God does more than this. He does more than just name us. He calls us with His love. This is a crucial point. The way that He calls us is through sacrificing His Son. Therefore, the relationship has been restored between us (his children) and Him (our Father) through scandalous grace. This act of God is permanent.
This love is so incredible and so life-changing that it is imparted to us as we continue to mature as His children. This is much different than love that is simply exhibited. We can marvel at the love that others may exhibit, but with God, we become His love to others. It’s given to us through the Holy Spirit. Because we are His children, we take on His character and His attitude.
Where do you need to be reminded that you are a child of God? Not just a child named, or recognized, or created, but a child called and given specifc purposes. While you were just a newborn, God held you in His arms and saw promise, hope, and opportunities for you to glorify Him and His kingdom.