Summary: In 3:1-3, John, having acknowledged that Christians are born of God, now enlarges on the wonder and the glory of our relationship with God. Reflecting on our position as children of God should cause us to have a renewed sense of wonder. Let’s examine wh
THE WONDER OF WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST
It is fascinating to watch little children as they discover something new. They are filled with wonder at an object as tiny as a beetle or as colorful as a butterfly. One of the problems with growing up is that all too often we lose our sense of wonder.
The Apostle John had been a Christian longer than any person alive at the time of the writing of this epistle. However, he never lost his sense of wonder at the things of God. One can feel John’s sense of wonder in the words, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God."
The word for "sons” or “children" is not the normal word that is John often used. Usually he used the word "huios," which means “a son.” That word stressed dignity, status, or position. The word John uses is "tekna" which stresses birth, origin, oneness of nature and could be translated "born ones." In 2:29 John stresses the practice of righteousness in the life of those who have been "born" of God. The born ones have the very nature of the Father.
All of chapter three centers in the special relationship that believers have with the Father. As John thinks on that special relationship, he can’t help but be overcome by a sense of wonder. In 3:1-3, John, having acknowledged that Christians are born of God, now enlarges on the wonder and the glory of our relationship with God. Reflecting on our position as children of God should cause us to have a renewed sense of wonder. Let’s examine who we are as children of God.
First, we are recipients of God’s love (3:1a). The Apostle John was filled with awe, as he reflected on the Love of God. "Behold, what manner of love...." When John wrote these words under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he had known the Lord Jesus for over sixty years. As he reflected on God’s love, he could not help but worship and wonder. How great, how wonderful, how glorious is God’s love.
God’s love is an unearthly kind of love. There is no love on earth like God’s love. It is greater than a mother’s love. It is greater than love for country. It is a love that has been "bestowed" or literally "poured out" freely on us. It has been "lavished" on us. It is ours as a permanent possession. It is the love that was expressed in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.
Second, we are members of God’s family. Note the words, “That we should be called the sons of God.” The word translated “Sons” or “children” as has been pointed out is the translation of a word meaning "born ones." The new birth is the means by which we become the children of God. Those who have been born again are privileged to bear the name "children of God." We are "called" children of God.
Not only are we called children of God, we really are children of God. Dr. V. L. Stanfield was one of my preaching professors at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Stanfield used to ask, “Did you ever sing the hymn, ‘I’m a Child of the King’ and all at once realized that you were?” The NASB reads, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are” (emphasis mine). The words, “and such we are” are not in the KJV but they are in the Greek texts, and are so translated in most translations of the Bible. John is saying, that not only are we called “children of God,” we really are God’s children.