“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” (1 John 3:1).
If we were to think of different kinds of love, how might we distinguish God’s kind of love from other kinds? Would we say it is deeper, a more intensified kind of love, like a father or mother to a child? Would we say it is sincerer, a more self-giving kind of love, like a virtuous personal vow?
I think both of these are certainly true, but I believe there is something more in this differentiation of God’s kind of love. We might get to the bottom of it by asking a few questions.
First, who is “we”? Well, the “we” mentioned here is sinful, rebellious, and disobedient people. Those who were the original recipients of this letter were, like us today, guilty sinners before God.
Second, what does it mean to be a “child of God”? A child is beloved, joined, and an heir to all of the family benefits. It would take a lifetime to study all that such things mean when we are talking about God as Father to those He calls “child.”
Third, why and when are “we” called “child of God”? Because of Christ… and right now! The profound love of God is distinct from all other loves in that God loves the unlovable sinner. Those who rebel against Him are those upon whom He lavishes His love, and this He does through Jesus Christ. Furthermore, this is true of any sinner who trusts in (i.e. believes in, has faith in, follows) Jesus.
See what kind of love God has for all those who trust Christ! He self-sacrificially gives them all that He is, despite their eager attempts to make themselves His enemies. This is an incomparable kind of love.