One of life’s mysteries is that parents love their children, and that right from the start. When a mother first meets her new-born baby, she kisses it, hugs it, feeds it, talks to it, tells her mother to come and see it, and, these days, floods facebook with pictures of her darling. What has that baby ever done to deserve such treatment? Nothing. Quite the opposite, in fact.
By the time a child is born, it has caused its mother weeks or months of sickness, sleeplessness (often shared by the father), loss of her entire wardrobe, discomfort, severe pain, and in this country, thousands of dollars. And that is just the beginning – toilet training is already on the horizon! Anyone else who did this to a woman would likely face charges of some sort. But in a healthy family, the child is welcomed, loved, and valued not for what it has done, but for who it is.
That is exactly the sort of thought that John lays out for us in 1 John 3:1 – “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…”
Though God is our Father, it caused Him more grief to “birth” us (v.9) than any mother on earth has endured in her labour. What parent would sacrifice their only child to adopt a diseased, angry pickpocket? God did far more when He sent His only begotten to purchase us while we were yet sinners.
We have never done anything to earn this love. Quite the opposite, in fact. Even as believers we sin, grieving our Father with our pride, disrespect of Him, laziness, and other sins. But He loves us not because of what we have done, but because of who we are in Christ. Yes, we are still sinners, but we are children, safe in Christ’s finished work which is undeniable evidence of the Father’s love for us.
But that is just the beginning for the Child of God – glory is on the horizon. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (v. 2).