1 John 3:1-2. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Are these not some of the greatest words ever written? The great twentieth century London preacher Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said that he was afraid to preach these verses lest he rob them of their greatness and glory. All of the Christian life is found in these phrases. Who we are and who will be. All hope, faith, and love. The wonder of God’s love and the glory of becoming like Christ.
Let me make two big statements here: 1) Understanding and appropriating the truths found here in 1 John 3:1-2 is the greatest task that the Christian can ever undertake. And 2) all unhappiness, uneasiness, stress, disappointment, pride, and inadequacy can be put to rest as we more and more bring our hearts in line with 1 John 3:1-2.
So who are we?
We are the beloved children of God. That is who we are. This is the objective reality of our union with Christ – we aren’t just called the children of God; we ARE the children of God. NOW. Not just some day. We are living each moment as God’s own sons and daughters.
No Christian should ever wrestle with their identity. No Christian should ever wonder as to how they are to relate to God. No Christian should ever doubt their place in this world. No Christian should ever fail to see their greatness as the princes and princesses of the universe, seated next to their heavenly dad. And no Christian should ever doubt God’s love for them.
Christian, you will never be more loved by God than you are right now. You will never be more his child. There is nothing that you could do to ever make God love you less than he does at this very moment, and nothing that you could do that could ever make him love you more than he does at this very moment. Your position in the heart of God is unmovable. It is as unchanging as God himself. Your behavior may change moment by moment. Your sense of who you are might fluctuate throughout the week. But who you ARE will never change. How much God loves you will never fluctuate. Not ever. This is the great truth of the gospel – God loves us with an everlasting love.
Admittedly this kind of love is hard for us to comprehend and take hold of. And John says as much here. When he uses the word “kind” of love he is literally saying that God’s love is of a whole different order. It’s not natural. It’s not normal. Literally it means “not from this world.” This is the supernatural love that Jesus predicted that one day we would be able to share in as God’s children – love for enemies.
Luke 6:35. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.
God loves us with an other-worldly love that needs no reception and no reciprocation. He loves us with a love that is so pure that it can love an enemy, and so powerful that it can turn an enemy into a son of the Most High. This agape is the greatest of loves. Love that needs nothing in return. Love that expects nothing but produces everything. It can turn a prodigal into an heir. It can heal the broken, and give hope to the hopeless. It can make all things new – but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
You see this fatherly love of God loves us as we are, but never leaves us as we are. Like the love of a great dad, God’s love is free from all binding expectations, and at the same time, it is full of all freeing expectancy. Our Abba’s love is pure and unshakable even in each and every moment of our failure, and yet it is a love that will settle for nothing less than our complete success. Which is Christ himself – we shall be like him.
And notice our dad doesn’t say, “You will be Jesus.” Dad doesn’t want a bunch of Jesus clones. He truly wants YOU. He wants your unique self. He loves you for you. So he says, “You will be like Jesus.” As free as Jesus. As pure as Jesus. As sinless as Jesus. As full of glory as Jesus. As able to love as Jesus. How? By simply seeing him as he is. Transformed in beholding. Changed by the beauty of his face. When our glorious brother and savior-king looks on us with his eyes of perfect love and grace, then we will know fully “to live is Christ.”
Can you see how your unhappiness is connected to not fully trusting who you ARE?
You in Christ
How does knowing God’s fatherly love for you as well as your destiny in Christ, offer you hope, peace, and joy today?
Christ in you
The Christ in you can love as he does. What enemy can you show love to today?
Playlist: Children of God