Receiving the Gift
3:1 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. 1 John 3:1
Yesterday, John introduced the concept of our being “born of Jesus.” In response to that idea, John takes a break to respond in pure amazement. And why was he amazed? Because only grace and mercy could give humans a title such as “children of God.”
Have you ever felt very undeserving of a gift? Maybe you won a prize that you didn’t think you worked hard enough for. Maybe your sibling forgave you even though you probably didn’t deserve forgiveness. Maybe you missed the mark of perfection, but someone told you, “I love you anyway.” If you have truly been given a gift of undeserved grace, you might have even felt how difficult it can be to receive such a gift. Because when we have nothing to offer the giver, when we can’t do anything to earn that free gift, we are left only to sit in amazement and wonder at the amount of love that was given to us.
In verse one, this amazement and wonder at God’s love in calling us His children is exactly what John is trying to highlight. If we can’t even grasp the grace and love of God, and we are the ones receiving it, then how could the world grasp it? The only way to even begin to understand grace is to know Jesus. So John explains that the world won’t recognize that we are children of God, because they do not know the giver of our grace.
And this giver of grace not only gave us the title “children of God,” but actually made us true children of God by making us born again in His own righteousness. What a wonder. What a mystery this love is.
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What gift or blessing has given you amazement and wonder?
2. Do you live like a child of God?
Dear God, we praise you for your infinite grace and mercy, that you have made us your children! All we can offer is our gratitude. Thank you for the love you show us all the time. Amen.