1 John 3:1-3 (ESV)
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.
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.
3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Not everyone is a child of God. In our culture the idea that all humans are merely one of God’s creations is often lost in the popular spirituality and pantheism of our day that says everyone is special and that God is cool with all people. Unfortunately, the Scripture does not bear witness to that idea. The Word teaches us that by our very nature we are creatures born into rebellion against God. It teaches us that God in his love and grace chose not to destroy us but rather provides a way of reconciliation.
God came to earth in human form so that he could offer himself as a sacrifice for the rebellion of humanity. He did this so that as people believe in him and commit to following his commandments they become reconciled to him. Wonderfully, this reconciliation is not a mere affirmation of contentment between Creator and creation but it is rather an adoption between a Father and an undeserving child.
The verses today tell us about this adoption and its benefits. First, John challenges us to marvel at God’s love because he has called us his children. God has given us himself as an eternal inheritance. It is marvelous because we are so undeserving, yet he does it anyways.
Secondly, John comforts us telling us that as children we aren’t perfect like Jesus is because we are bound to this life and this broken circumstance in which we were found, but someday we will see Jesus and we will be perfect. This is key because often we fail and sin and blow it even when we try our hardest not to.
Finally, we are exhorted to do our best to honor the Father of our adoption by living a pure life emulating the purity of Jesus. I think this is the real application today. I think as disciples of Jesus and children of God we have to strive to be better than we were when we were unforgiven sinners. We have to battle temptations both internal and external that tell us that its ok to give into sin here and there because we have grace. I am guilty of abusing God’s grace. Guilty of knowing that God is faithful to forgive and cleanse me of my unrighteousness so therefore I can willfully sin. I am wrong. Christ did not die so that I may continue to sin and say I am sorry. He died so that I may be made holy and righteous. We have to live our live in the knowledge of that reality.
Father thank you for your adoption. Thank you for your plan to redeem our broken and corrupt lives. What are we if we are not connected with you through the sacrifice of Jesus and the gift of your grace? We are dying and we are lost. May our lives testify to the work you have done in us. Convict us of our sin and help us love you better. In Jesus name, Amen.