My dear readers,
We are Children of God (1 John 3:1-3)
1 John 3:1 “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.”
When Adam sinned against God, all humanity fell into sin because of him. His one act of disobedience plunged humanity into spiritual darkness and death. Mankind became enemies of God from birth to death. There was no escape from this curse that fell upon humanity! When God looked down from heaven upon mankind, all He saw were wretched sinners in total depravity. Wickedness and evil characterised their lives and they were ignorant of their evil ways. This is the worst and most hopeless state to be in!
However, even while sinful man was in this sinful state, God still loved sinful man. In His love, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who came down from heaven and took upon Him flesh and blood, to live a perfect life, and to die as the perfect God-man for the world. He was born of the virgin Mary as the perfect Son of God and Son of Man so that it was the God-man who died. His death was of infinite worth! It was sufficient to take away the sins of the world because on the third day after Christ died, God raised Him from the dead for man’s justification. All who believe and receive Christ Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are born again. This is the manner of love that John revealed in verse 1a. This salvation transforms sinful man’s relationship with his Creator. God now calls them, “sons of God.” From “enemies of God” all believers are now called “sons of God” or “children of God!”
What does it mean to believers to be called children of God?
First and foremost, children of God must know that the world does not know them (verse 1a). The word “know” refers to “experiential knowledge.” This means that the world will not appreciate and understand how a child of God feels and lives. For example, the child of God will stop doing many sinful things that he used to do like drinking, smoking and gambling. He knows that these sinful vices will destroy his witness for Christ! He stops going to places that he frequented before salvation as these places are now places of sin that he will turn his back on. These places include bars, clubs and casinos. He used to socialize with his friends and bosses after work to network and expand his exposure to get ahead in life. But now he trusts in his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to take care of him. His motives, thinking, language and dressing and basically his entire outlook in life are transformed. Friends and families will see the transformation in his life. They knew the old man but not this new one! All believers must talk differently, think godly, and behave holily and “stand out” for Christ as the light of Christ shines through them.
The reason the world is no longer able to know believers experientially in terms of their spiritual life is because it does not have any spiritual experiences or knowledge of God. As long as this world continues to reject Christ as Lord and Saviour, it will never bridge this spiritual gap. The world will remain in sin and spiritual darkness, devoid of spiritual sight and spiritually dead. It might appreciate this life in terms of its higher ethics and morals but it will never be able to experience this same life unless Christ enters in! Some might hate and despise the children of God but others will want to be like them by becoming Christians themselves.
However, all believers must know that they are children of God (verse 2). Children of man are known and seen by their home addresses, similar surnames, and similar way of life. People will be able to know by sight based upon the above similarities. But the children of God will not be identified by sight as there is no physical transformation upon salvation. They still look the same even though they have been transformed instantaneously into children of God upon salvation. However, God wants all believers to know that the moment they become believers, they become sons of God even though there is no external transformation. The ones who are sick will remain sick after salvation. The ones who are in prison when they accept Christ will remain in prison. Outwardly the world cannot see the difference but the children of God must know inwardly that a huge difference has taken place.
Children of God must also know (cognitive knowledge based upon God's perfect truth) that one day they will look different externally. They will be like their resurrected and glorified Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ! This takes place when the Lord Jesus Christ appears and descends from heaven to resurrect and rapture the church to meet Him in the air. Then He will bring all believers home to heaven in glorified bodies. The external will be like the internal. The children of God will not only know that they are but they will be seen to be the children of God as they will possess the glory of their heavenly Father, God almighty! This glory awaits all children of God.
But how does one know that he is truly a child of God in these last days of apostasy?
The world needs to know that believers are pure (verse 3). John declares in verse 3, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” The child of God who has this blessed hope of glorification will purify himself daily all his life. To purify means to make himself clean morally. He will get rid of sins in his life quickly by sincere repentance and turning to God in Christ. He will pray for God's strength not to sin that sin again. He is deeply sorrowful and convicted by his transgressions. This is not the same as the word “sanctify.” To be sanctified means “to be made holy.” To purify is to get rid of sin first. Then the child of God will do all the holy things in the Bible to keep him holy such as studying the Bible so that he can think holy thoughts.
He desires to be pure all his life in Christ because he knows that his Lord Jesus Christ is always pure.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew, Pastor