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. Beloved, now are we the sons of God. — 1 John 3:1-2
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us!” Consider who we were, and what we feel ourselves to be even now when corruption is powerful in us and we will wonder at our adoption into God’s family. Yet we are called “the sons of God.” What a high relationship is that of a son, and what privileges it brings! What care and tenderness, the son expects from his father and what love the father feels towards the son! But all that, and more than that, we now have through Christ.
As for the temporary drawback of suffering with the elder brother, this we accept as an honor: “Therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.” We are content to be unknown with Him in His humiliation, for we are to be exalted with Him.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” That is easy to read but it is not so easy to feel. How is it with your heart this morning? Are you in the lowest depths of sorrow? Does corruption rise within your spirit, and grace seem like a poor spark trampled under foot? Does your faith almost fail you? Fear not, it is neither your graces nor feelings on which you are to live—you must live simply by faith on Christ. With all these things against us, now—in the very depths of our sorrow, wherever we may be—now, as much in the valley as on the mountain, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God!”
“Ah—but,” you say, “see how I am arrayed! my graces are not bright; my righteousness does not shine with apparent glory.” But read the text: “It does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” The Holy Spirit shall purify our minds, and divine power shall refine our bodies, then shall we see Him as He is.
There is therefore now no condemnation. — Rom 8:1
Come, my soul—think on this. Believing in Jesus, you are actually and effectually cleared from all guilt; you are led out of your prison. You are no more in fetters as a bond-slave; you are delivered now from the bondage of the law; you are freed from sin, and can walk at large as a freeman—for your Savior’s blood has procured your full discharge. You have a right now to approach your Father’s throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare you now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent.
Your disabilities are taken away—you were once unable to see your Father’s face—you can see it now. You could not speak with Him but now you have access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon you but you have no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless? He who believes is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges you might have enjoyed, if you had never sinned—are yours, now that you are justified. All the blessings which you would have had if you had kept the law, and more—are yours, because Christ has kept it for you. All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to you, because Christ was perfectly obedient on your behalf, and has imputed all His merits to your account, that you might be exceeding rich through Him, who for your sake became exceeding poor. Oh! How great the debt of love and gratitude you owe to your Savior!
“A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear with Your righteousness on,
My person and offerings to bring:
The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood,
Hide all my transgressions from view.”