v. 1: “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
God has so poured out his love on us that we can’t help but be overjoyed! He has called us children of God, and so we are ~ it doesn’t matter if you do good deeds or whatever. If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and have accepted Him as such, then you are a child of God simply because that is what God calls you! He has adopted you into His family and you are a part of it, regardless of your actions.
I think that when this verse refers to “the world,” it’s talking about the people around us who are of the world. I don’t think it necessarily includes believers. That word “know” is powerful to me, possibly because so many times I’ve dwelt on what it means in the sense of a relationship with another person, such as a friendship. When does a person really “know” you? When can you say, “Well, you know me,” and have it actually be true? Can a person ever truly know you? Are you so predictable that a person can learn your ways and patterns to such an extent that they can predict what you might be thinking?
I think that with a lot of devotion and a lot of effort put in by both parties, two people can learn a great deal about each other, enough to say that they really, truly know one another. Then the two of you are extremely close, and you even start becoming like each other in your thought process and your actions. And I think that’s kind of what this verse is talking about. If we are truly chasing God and in a deep relationship with Him, if we are really trying to “know” Him, then He will become a part of us. The world of unbelievers has no part of God in them. They know nothing of His grace, His love, or His personality. They can’t know us if we know Him, because they don’t know Him.
I know that might have been a bit confusing. Let me try to make it clearer. Have you ever seen two people that are so close they seem like the same person, and their thoughts and actions and interests seem almost identical? Do you ever feel like you’re kind of missing out on something amazing that you can see between these two people? That’s kind of what I’m trying to say here. We should be like those two people with God. We should be so close with Him that what we do mirrors Jesus.
“Shine. Make them wonder what we got. Make them wish that they were not on the outside looking bored.” ~ Newsboys, “Shine”
v. 2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”
I love it when the word “dear” is used in the Bible. That word to me is just so full of gentleness and affection. For a person to be dear to you, they must be very close to your heart. You must care so much about them. And I have so many friends that are so dear to me. It’s just a really great feeling to love someone with such a deep, Christlike love. Whenever I see that word in the Bible, I just imagine that I’m with or speaking to my dear friends, and it makes it so much more special to me.
Anyway, I like that phrase “What we will be has not yet been made known.” I love the mystery of it, the knowledge that we have no clue what we’re getting into. Only the Lord knows what we will become in our future ~ in our lives on this earth, as well as what we will be like in heaven and on the New Earth. I think in this particular verse that it’s talking more about our lives on this earth, though. Isn’t it exciting how we have no idea what we’re going to be like fifty years from now when we’re retired, ten when we’re raising families of our own (or not ~ yo, I dunno what you’re gonna be doing in ten years), next month when it’s November and we have all those rainy days and all that Christmas shopping coming up, or even what you’re going to be doing at a certain hour tomorrow. Each hour you have on this earth you have time to become something different, to change something in your life. And maybe you have done that recently. Maybe you changed something just this morning or last night or yesterday. Do you remember how you felt an hour or two before you made that change? You had no idea it was going to happen. No idea. Not the foggiest. And this could happen any hour of your life. Isn’t that exciting!
Of course, God knows exactly what we’ll become. That’s probably why that phrase is worded the way it is, “What we will become has not yet been made known.” God knows what’s going on in your life and He’ll make it known to you at the opportune moment. And sometimes the opportune moment will blow your mind. That’s even more exciting.
I’m not exactly sure what the next part means, that we shall be like Him. I think maybe it’s saying that God is making us (referencing back to the previous part of the verse) to be like Jesus in our hearts and our minds, and that when He comes, we’ll be like Him in that sense. And maybe that last part, “for we shall see Him as He is,” is talking about one last piece of the puzzle. One last thing that will make us like Jesus. And when we see Him returning, He’ll come like a triumphant victor, casting our sin for good and throwing Satan into the lake of fire. Such an entrance is going to be so exciting to witness. And then we’ll be caught up into Heaven with Him, and we will become heirs of God’s kingdom, ruling right alongside Jesus on the New Earth.
v. 3: “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Jesus is the purest thing you could ever imagine. He is fully God, one with the Father and the Spirit. There is nothing more pure. Purity is freedom from sin, and Jesus never sinned once in His entire life. God is incapable of sinning, I believe, and so He is the only One who is truly pure. But having a relationship with Him and having faith in Him purifies our hearts. It makes us more like Him.