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…
"Behold what manner of love" (what great and singular love, that is to say) "the Father hath bestowed," etc. Now this seems to imply that we had forfeited the name. Like the prodigal in the parable, we had virtually renounced our sonship and inheritance; and it was a question of agonising interest, whether God would ever again consent to stand towards us in the relation of a parent. And so when Almighty God, regarding us in Christ, declares, "I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters," we understand that His anger is turned away, that our offences are cast behind His back, and that we are restored to all the privileges which appertain to children. Such are the blessings comprehended in the promise, "Ye shall be called the sons of God." But there is still more in it. Not only had we forfeited the right to call God Father, but we had also lost the child-like spirit. And therefore when God calls us children, on the ground of being reconciled to us in Immanuel, He engages to make us so by communicating to us of His Spirit. The apostle, after this burst of admiration at the love God shows towards His people in Christ, and the honours He puts upon them, anticipates an objection. Are we indeed so great and honourable? Yet, what is our condition upon the earth? The rich, the great, the wise of this world stand aloof from us, as from persons of disturbed intellect or morose temper. are we indeed so great before God, while so little before men? It is even so. God seeth not as man seeth: and that which is vile to human judgment is precious in His sight. Was it not so with holy men and prophets and apostles of old? Was it not so with Jesus Himself? Indeed, there is much of comfort in the thought suggested by the words, "Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." If you do not resemble Christ, who was so unlike ordinary men, the world which loves its own would know and approve you. For your conscience may justly testify that therefore the world which rejected Christ refuses to know you with approbation, because it perceives in you His features and carriage. And, after all, we are sons. That is our confidence, our comfort, our triumph. And here I must remind you of the duties which flow from this relation to God — the duties of obedience and trust. If you are children of the Most High, to Him, surely, more than to any human superior, must absolute obedience be due. As a Creator, as a King, as a Master, He might have demanded, with perfect justice, the consecration of all our faculties to His service. But He speaks to us by a tenderer name: "I am your Father," He says. Try to show yourselves worthy of that noble estate by a child-like deportment towards Him. Well, then, we are actually the sons of God, through His free and abounding grace, although not yet wearing a royal diadem and clothed in princely apparel. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." The real grandeur of the righteousness is overshadowed by the hand of Providence; the present display of it being incompatible with their own spiritual welfare, and with the scheme of God's kingdom. Yet, while glorifying the grace which bestows upon us so great a privilege, forget not the duty it entails. Remember that to live as slaves of sin and the world, after God has freed you from that bondage, and brought you into the glorious liberty of His own children, would be infinitely base and ungrateful. Therefore pray for the Holy Spirit of God to enable you to walk worthy of this high relation.
(J. N. Pearson, M. A.)
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.
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.