1 Behold, what manner of love has the Father bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God. Therefore, the world knows us not, because it knew Him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be; we know, however, that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.1 John 3:1-3
Here is a good example of how our chapter breaks can, at times, get in the way of properly interpreting Scripture. The “behold” here is really a concluding doxology to John’s argument in chapter 2, before moving forward with the other items on John’s agenda. When you abide in the Son (2:20-29), the Father’s other-worldly love is bestowed on you. That love is embodied by the Father calling us His children. The new birth makes us strangers to the old world, because they know not Christ.
There is a series of gifts, which God bestows, that appear in each of the final three chapters.
- He’s bestowed His love by naming us as His own children (3:1).
- He’s bestowed His Spirit that we might not doubt our union with Him (4:13)
- He’s bestowed upon us an understanding that we might know Him that is true (5:20).
It’s also worth mentioning that in older Greek texts, the meaning of the phrase “what manner” would be more akin to “from what place”. In other words, this is other-worldly love, heavenly love that is bestowed upon those in the Son. Through the Son, the Father calls us sons
But this description of our position as sons gives way to our duty as sons. We are brought into God’s house by grace, and continue in grace. But the grace is given that we might walk as Christ walked (2:6). We must be about our Father’s business (Cf. Lk. 2:49). Here we see that generation determines destiny. You are born of God, and thus, though we do not know what great glory awaits us, we know that we shall resemble our Older Brother, Christ. If God owns you as His beloved son or daughter, you know that when Christ appears you will be like Him.
God’s love rests upon you in Christ. So, set your hope on the glory which has been given to Christ, and trust that you shall share in that transfiguring glory. Hoping in Christ is how we grow in holiness, and thus become like He is. Seeing Christ spurs on our sanctification. Indeed, see what great love the Father has bestowed.
- 1 John 4:7-10 | God is Love
- 1 John 4:4-6 | Overcoming Swarms of Devils
- 1 John 4:1-3 | Stranger Danger
- 1 John 3:23-24 | The Nail in Timidity’s Coffin
- 1 John 3:19-22 | God is Greater than Our Hearts
- 1 John 3:13-18 | The World Hates You
- 1 John 3:10-12 | Children of God, Children of the Devil
- 1 John 3:7-9 | To Destroy the Works of the Devil
- 1 John 3:4-6 | Sin is Lawlessness
- 1 John 3:1-3 | What Unearthly Love