The World Knoweth Us Not
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…

First, of the concession; and there the first granted truth is —

1. That the children of God are obnoxious to the contempt and hatred of the world: "The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not."

2. The second concession is the imperfection of the present state, by which the glory of this privilege is darkened. It doth not appear what we shall be by what we are now. The heirs of the world make a great show and noise; they may be pointed at where they go; there goeth such a prince, or such a lord's son and heir; but God's children carry no such port and state. Secondly, by way of correction; and there —

1. He asserts the reality of the privilege: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."

2. That in the future state the glory of God's children shall be manifest: "When He shall appear we shall be like Him." That shall be the day of the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). First Christ, and then all the rest of His children (Colossians 3:3, 4).


1. It is not seen by the world; the world knoweth us not, as it knew Him not; it is hidden from the world, as colours from a blind man; they have no eyes to see them.

(1) Because they are blinded by the delusions of the flesh, and cannot judge of spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14).

(2) Being blinded with malice and prejudice they censure this estate perversely, and so malign it and oppose it (1 Peter 4:4, 5). But their perverse judgment should be no discouragement to the godly in the way of holiness, wherein they endeavour to imitate God, their heavenly Father.

(a) Because if God be not known nor honoured in the world, nor Christ, nor the Spirit, why should we take it unkindly?

(b) Their opinion is little to be valued, and therefore we should rather pity their ignorance than be offended by their censures.

(c) Christians should be satisfied with the approbation of God. It is enough that we have God's image, God's favour and fellowship, and are taken into God's family.

(d) It might be cause of suspicion to us if we were hugged and embraced by the world. It is better to have the praise of their hatred than the scandal of their love and approbation.

(e) Those that are truly blessed in their own consciences cannot be truly miserable by the judgment of other men (2 Corinthians 1:12).

(f) The slanders and mockery of worldly men should be no discouragement to us in the ways of the Lord; for God will reckon with them about their hard speeches against His people (1 Peter 4:4).

2. As our dignity is not of the world, so in itself it doth not appear during our present state.

(1) The privileges float belong to our dignity and prerogative of adoption are spiritual, and therefore make no fair show in the flesh, as for instance —

(a) The image of God is an internal image (Psalm 45:13).

(b) The life which floweth thence is hidden (Colossians 3:3), like the sap of the tree, which is not seen though the fruit appear.

(c) Their comforts are spiritual, known by feeling rather than by report and imagination: "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds, through Jesus Christ."(d) The protection and supplies of God's providence; it is a secret, it is a mystery and a riddle to the world that must have all under the view of sense (Psalm 31:20).

(2) Because it is hidden (Colossians 3:3), not only in point of security, as maintained by an invisible power, but hidden in point of obscurity; there is a veil upon it.

(a) The spiritual life is hidden under the veil of the natural life (Galatians 2:20).

(b) Another veil is that of afflictions and outward meanness and abasement.

(c) Another veil is reproach and calumnies (2 Corinthians 6:8).

(d) There is another veil: Christians quench the vigour and obscure the glory of this life by their infirmities; they have too much of Adam and too little of Jesus, and so the spiritual life is carried on darkly; the good herbs and flowers are hidden in neglected gardens by the plenty of weeds.

(3) It is future: "Now are we the children of God, but it doth not appear what we shall be"; and so our filiation is not only hidden from others, but in a great measure from ourselves.


1. Because now is the time of trial, hereafter of recompense; therefore now is the hiding time, hereafter is the day of manifestation of the sons of God. Christ had his bright side and dark side, a glory to be seen by those eyes that were anointed with spiritual eye salve, and affliction and meanness enough to harden them that had no mind to see; so God hath His chosen ones in the world who keep up His honour and interest, and He hath His ways to express His love to them, but not openly.

2. Now is the time of faith, hereafter of sight; and "faith is the evidence of things not seen." Therefore in this day of faith God will not too openly expose things to the view of sense, for that would destroy faith. Now we are sanctified and justified, and live by faith.

3. That we may be conformed to our head, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came not with external appearance.

4. God hath chosen this way as most fit to advance His glory; He will give us little in hand that He may daily hear from us, and we may seek our supplies from Him, for the spirit of adoption was given us that we may cry, "Abba, Father"; and also that His power may be perfect in our weakness.

(T. Manton, 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 World Does not Know Christ
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