God’s Love and Our Sonship

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John declares, “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” (I John 3:1).  There is a vital connection between God’s love and our sonship.  John marvels at the love of God that makes it possible for us to be His children.  If we are the children of God, then we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17).
Divine Love Is A Spiritual Reality That Is Perceptible in Its Effect.
The word “behold” means to note, discern, or understand.  This word refers to the astonished and joyful contemplation which penetrates deep into the revelation of the mystery of God (Spicq, Agape in the New Testament,vol. III, p. 109). It discerns the divine love in the present and concrete fact that the believer is begotten of God and is a child of God.  God’s love produces wonder and delight in us.
The Nature of Divine Love.Divine love is a manifest, active, expressed love, having its own reality, existing in itself and communicable to mankind.  The divine love exists as a part of the nature of God (God is love-I John 4:8,16).  This love is expressed in the unspeakable gift of His Son-Jesus Christ.  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (I John 4:9).  Consequently, we can learn God’s love through God’s acts.  God’s love is made known by providing us everything essential to our physical lives through His creative acts and everything essential to our spiritual lives through His redemptive acts. The bestowal of the divine love in the gift of Jesus Christ is a once and for all act (unrepeatable).  Ultimately, Jesus’ death upon the cross makes it possible for us to become the children of God.  He purchases us to Himself by His blood and redeems to Himself a special people who comprise His church.  The divine love pursues us as God seeks our highest good and acts for our greatest benefit.  If we respond to this love by loving God back, then we can enter into His grace and become His children.
Divine Love is Active in Securing Our Sonship.
Divine love impacts us and leaves its imprint upon us.  God’s love can transform sinners into saints by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16).  The begettal to new spiritual life is brought about by God’s love (I John 3:1); by God’s Word (I Peter 1:21-23); by our love (John 14:15, I John 4:19); by our faith (Gal. 3:26, 27); and our new birth (John 3:3-5) –baptism in water and regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).  The new birth produces a new creature, i.e. a child of God.  We are called (because we actually are) the children of God and we stand to inherit all that God has (Rom. 8:16-17).  God’s love makes union with Him and communion with Him possible.  This communion with God makes communion with the world  an impossibility (I John 2:15). You cannot love God and, at the same time, say that you love the world (worldliness). John was filled with wonder as he contemplated what God’s love had done for him. It can do the same thing for you!