The Divine Birth -- the Family Likeness
1 John 3:1-6
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not…

The first verses of the third chapter are to be viewed as inseparable from the last verse of the second. It is that verse which starts the new line of thought; our "knowing that God is righteous, and doing righteousness accordingly," in virtue of our "being born of Him." Born of Him! That is what awakens John's grateful surprise.

I. In every view that can be taken of it, our being called the sons of God is A WONDERFUL INSTANCE OF THE FATHER'S LOVE.

II. AND WE ARE HIS CHILDREN: "Beloved, now are we children of God." Our being called children of God is a reality; our being born of God makes it so. The world may not know us in that character, for "it knows not God," and has never known Him. Let us lay our account with having to judge and act on principles which the world cannot understand. Let us be God's children indeed; though on that very account the world that has not known God should not know us.

III. FOR WHATEVER THE WORLD MAY THINK OR SAY, "WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD," His dear children; sharers of His Divine nature; the objects of His fatherly love. It concerns us to bear this in mind, to feel it to be true. It is our safety to do so. It is what is due to ourselves; it is what God expects, and has a right to expect from us. Let us stay ourselves on the conviction that our being God's children is not a matter of opinion, dependent on the world's vote, but a matter of fact, flowing from the amazing manner of love which the Father hath bestowed upon us. And let us be put, as the saying is, upon our mettle, to make good our claim to be God's children by such a manifestation of our oneness of nature with Him of whom we are born as may, by God's blessing, overcome some of the world's ignorant unbelief, and lead some of the world's children to try that manner of love for themselves, to taste and see how good the Lord is.


1. What is set before us as matter of hope in the future life is not something different from what is to be attained, enjoyed, and improved by us, as matter of faith, and of the experience of faith in the present life.

2. When it does appear what we are to be, when that is no more hidden but disclosed, we shall be like God whose children we are as being born of Him: "for we shall see Him as He is." The full light of all His perfection as the righteous God will open upon our view; we shall know the righteous Father as the Son knows Him. Is not this a hope "full of glory"? And is it not a hope full of holiness too?

(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

WEB: Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn't know us, because it didn't know him.

The Dignity of Human Nature and its Consequent Obligations
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