“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called the children of God! Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has yet to be revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” – 1 John 3:1-2
The epistle of John is a wonderful book that emphasizes love. Throughout the book, the various messages that John by the Holy Spirit conveys to us about love are framed through the love of the Father; “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who love is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).
Much of the passages seem like instructions or even commands to love others. However, the love with which we are called to love others is a love that emanates from the Father. Love is the essence of God, for God is love. Only those who are born of God and know Him can have the capacity to demonstrate agape love – the God kind of love. The aforementioned scripture also associate love with knowing. To ‘know’ is indicative of a deep relationship and in fact signifies union, similar to when a man knows a woman. We see in 1 John 4:8 this link between love and knowing; “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Knowing God is therefore a state of abiding in Him which enables us to possess His nature of love.
Manner of Love
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us” – 1 John 3:1
In light of this truth, we see in our main scripture that the manner of love the Father has bestowed or given unto us is not simply a deed of generosity or benevolence but His very nature, the nature of love that He is. He did this by giving us His begotten Son. Again, this is not merely a single act of love demonstrated by God to forgive us of Sin and to reconcile us to Himself. It’s more than that. It is an impartation of His nature of love in us, so we can live in and through love; so we can live in and through Him. For this reason, He has given us of Himself. He has bestowed love (Himself) on us. John relays this truth in another way: “in this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9). Our Father of love sent His Son that we might live through Him. What a glorious truth! He bestowed on us the love of God through Christ. The instructions of John throughout the book are therefore leading us to live through the love of God which is in Christ. “For the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Cor. 5:14).
This is a love that transcends doing. It is being love just as God is love. Not merely deeds of love but being the essence of love by the very life of Christ operating in us. Therefore, the manner of love the Father has bestowed on us is an impartation of the very person of Christ. The word ‘manner’ in the Greek is ‘potapos’ which signifies of the sort or quality of a person. He has made us in His image and likeness and desires to produce His actual life in us through His seed.
Children of God
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has yet to be revealed what we shall be” – 1 John 3:2
God has imparted to us of His nature in order that “we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). We are His children because we have received of His incorruptible Seed. Our Father has bestowed on us the very gene of His nature. His Seed has been sown into our earth. However, a seed, so long as it remains a seed will not reveal the full capacity of what is in it. It is sown with the intent that it grows and matures, in order to manifest what’s on the inside. In 1 John 3:2, we see that Children are the seed form. For John says: “beloved, now we are the children of God; it has not yet been revealed what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). The seed has tremendous potential, but in its seed state no one can see all the riches hidden inside. The same is true with the children of God. So long as a believer remains a child, he/she will not manifest the unsearchable riches hidden in the indwelling Christ.
The word used for children in this passage is the Greek ‘teknon’ which signifies one who is not yet of age. The bible distinguishes children and sons. Isaiah declares: “for unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given” (Isa. 9:6). A child is born, but a son progressively matures. A son in the Greek is ‘uihos’ and means one who is mature and has come of age. A son is one ready to inherit his father’s name and position. Jesus during His 30 years in Nazareth was not called a Son. Only after His baptism in the Jordan did the Father declare: “this is my beloved Son (uihos) in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17). During His 30 years, Jesus was growing and maturing. For the scriptures tell us that “the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him” (Luke 2:40). “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with man” (Luke 2:52). We too are going through such a progression from being children to sons. For this reason “it has not yet been revealed what we shall be” (1 John 3:2). The manifestation of the fullness of the indwelling Christ in sons is the earnest expectation of creation (Rom. 8:19).
“when He is reveled, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” – 1 John 3:2
The maturity from childhood to sonship is contingent on a revealing or an appearing of the One who possess all the attributes of that life. The Greek work for ‘reveal’ is ‘phaneroo’ which means to make manifest or visible another person. I share here experts from the writings of Preston Eby: “Phaneroo is often used when someone is manifesting someone else, as when the Son manifested the Father, or when we manifest Christ in our lives… it speaks not so much of God manifesting Himself TO us, but, rather, God manifesting Himself THROUGH us! It is someone manifesting someone else – the Christ and His body of the enChristened becoming the manifestation of God in the earth.” This revealing is the continuous and progressive manifestation of Christ through us until we come to the stature of sonship. Only when He is revealed (Phaneroo), shall we be like Him (1 John 3:2).
It is the manifestation of Christ in us that enables us to be like Him. The manifestation of His character, His love, His righteousness, His peace, His joy, and every attribute of His life within us enables us to see Him as He is. Notice it is being like Him that enables us to see Him. The more of His life He manifests in us, the more we see Him for who He truly is. In this progressive manifestation, the unsearchable Christ, the mystery hidden from ages past, becomes manifest in our reality as He is revealed in us. Glory to God!
It is through the appearing of Christ in us who is the wisdom of God that we grow in wisdom and show forth His wisdom. It is through the manifestation of Christ in us who is love that we grow in love and show forth His love. In everything, it is the Father’s desire that we should manifest all that Christ is in character and nature that we may minister His freedom to creation. For without Him we can do nothing.