1 John 3:1
Who We Are
It appears that I am moving slowly through John’s first letter, but he packs so much in a single verse that it is hard to leap over several verses in a single bound. In this one verse, the Apostle reminds us of our identity. We live in a day when much is made about “identity” and much of it in a perverted way. So it is fitting that we should likewise claim our identity—not in a brash way but certainly unapologetically.
To begin, our identity is rooted in God’s love—not our works, not our successes, not our failures, indeed, not in anything that has to do with us but only in God’s abundant and life-giving love. And what does that love make of us? Children of God. And if anyone was doubting, John then adds, “And so we are.” That is, we who have been born again of the Spirit have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). We must let these words sink into our ears, for doing so has two effects: 1) That we bask in the glow of amazing grace that has been showered over us. It is enough to make one swoon. And this sonship is not that pitiable thing that even pagans claim when they say that we are all children of God; no, this is that sonship that saves from death and hell, opens the gates of heaven, and transforms sinners into saints—real sonship! And, 2) That we remind ourselves of our divine parentage and patrimony when persecution comes.
And come it will. So, John reminds us: “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” Jesus said, “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matthew 10:25). And then he adds, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). The gospel divides the world into two opposing camps, and it must needs be so because the majority will never receive the Savior. And because they walk in darkness, they will hate those who walk in the light. God’s children will shun the world—the desires of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life. Their lives are thus lived in direct contradiction to the world’s values—and the world doesn’t like that and will eventually try to snuff such a life out.
And this is where we are now in America. As the light gets brighter, the darkness grows darker. The demons begin to howl and their minions on earth heed their call. But remember, Christian, you are a child of God, and your inheritance is in heaven. Fear them not and fix your eyes on Him.