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…
I have taken the text from the New Version, which gives us this very emphatic Amen: "And such we are." Well may the apostle cry "Behold!" as he sets forth this wonderful truth.
I. See, then, WHENCE THIS LOVE COMES. Behold what manner of love "the Father" hath bestowed upon us. Let men come to think that God is against them, and what can they do? There is nothing for it then but utter despair. But if a man only believes through and through him that God loves him — that God wants to help him — then let winds blow, let earth tempt, that man can hope; he can rise up and can come home; he is more than conqueror. But saith some timid soul, Does it not say that God is angry with the wicked every day? True. How then can He love me? Well, it is because He loves that He is angry. If I were going on my way, and heard a set of boys rough and rude and profane, I should feel sorry for them; but if I saw my son amongst them I should feel not sorry only, but angry — angry not because I did not love him, but because I did. All the meaning of Christ's coming — of His life and death and resurrection and intercession — is the story of God's love to us. All the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into the assurance of His love.
II. Let us draw near and look at THE FREENESS AND FULNESS OF THE LOVE OF GOD.
1. It does not proceed from any need in the Divine nature. That wonderful preface to the writings of St. John shows us the Only Begotten dwelling in the bosom of the Father. There is the eternal communion. There is love's satisfaction. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in eternal communion and fellowship.
2. This love of God is not mere pity. It is not that the Almighty is moved by our needs and miseries as the Samaritan of old. Pity saw the wants, and would give what it could spare; but love saw the son, and could not give enough. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us — love that takes us for His very own; love that would hold us in closest communion and tenderest relationship; love that saith, "Son, thou art ever with Me, and all that I have is thine."
3. Behold what manner of love — it is a righteous love. It may yearn to deliver and to restore, but there is one thing it can never do — it cannot pass by sin. It can never make light of that. And who of us could trust God's love if He did? Hereby perceive we the love of God, that He laid down His life for us. And now there meets us love that is righteous, and therefore free and full. Love that hath nothing to conceal, nothing to be afraid of.
4. Another light falls on the text if we turn it round and think of the children — that we should be called the children of God. Adoption has much in it that is beautiful and very gracious. But ours is not an adoption; we are His by regeneration. It is not a new name but a new nature which is bestowed upon us. Begotten of God, we are His children indeed and of a truth. Do not explain it away as a figure. "And so we are." Bound to the heart of the Father by the tenderest ties of relationship. Wonder at it, but do not doubt it. Claim it, in all its fullest privilege and blessing.
(M. G. Pearce.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.