Children of God

See what great 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. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

1 John 3:1-3

It’s really an amazing thing to read this text and give it a chance to sink in; this is a text to read slowly, prayerfully…

While we were dead in our sinful rebellion against God, He loved us so much, even in spite of our mindset against Him, that He went to extraordinary lengths to redeem us to Himself, and once reborn, we are now His children.  There are moments when we may not feel like it, but when God looks upon us, He sees His own children… what more is there to say?

None of us really can appreciate exactly what that entails.  It’s like being asked what heaven is like…  I’ve been asked this many times, but I must admit that I don’t really know.  People repeat certain Biblical passages about heaven, and act as though they know all, but they are kidding themselves, for they are quoting non-literal passages that give indications of certain aspects of heaven, but not details, and do you know how I can say this so boldly?  It’s easy; human language does not, nor could it ever, contain the vocabulary to describe fully, accurately and completely those things which no man has ever seen and reported directly – we have no reverences to comprehend.  The same is true for being children of God.  Much remains “hidden” for there is simply no vocabulary to convey the full meaning.  When we see Jesus Christ face-to-face, we will see all. What a glorious hope! It is only natural and proper for us to respond to this by setting aside the old life, the old ways, and to be pure as He is pure to the best of our ability, and according to His leading.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

1 John 3:4-6

John highlights the point made above about purity in these verses.  For us to disregard everything He has done for us, to reject His love and His grace and remain in the old ways is simply inconceivable. That isn’t to say that we will never struggle or make mistakes; it isn’t to say that we are suddenly perfect.  He came to take sin away, after all, not to catch us messing up.  John is once again pointing out the contrast between the follower of Jesus Christ and the one who rejects Jesus Christ.  He doesn’t appear to be referring in any way to a follower who had a bad day.

Before I conclude this, dear reader, what is it that really jumps out at you here?

For me, the thing that jumps out is that not only is God’s love for us amazing, boundless and tremendous, but that it holds implications that go far beyond anything that we can even begin to comprehend in our current mortal state, and that our hope for eternal life is not only assured, but far more amazing than anyone has ever understood it to be.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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15 Responses to Children of God

  1. Denine says:

    Can we continue to sin under Grace?

    My thoughts…

    “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning.”

    How can we live in Him, if we continue to sin? We can’t because there is no sin in Him.

    So how do we not sin? we are now dead to sin – alive in Christ. Right?

    1. In Him we are no longer under the law of sin = Death. We are under the law of Grace faith in Jesus Christ = we are the righteousness of God. He has washed away our sin and clothed us in His own righteousness. Now becoming the children of God.

    The only way to stand before God is in His rightouseness. I am the rightouseness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

    “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as He is pure.

    “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21

    Found this quote I like,

    “Trevin, you are not just a sinner saved by grace.” He was preaching now. “You are also a saint indwelled by the very Spirit of God!”

    “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:11

    I am asking because it seems to me I have been taught about Grace but then preached back under the law. Meaning instead of focusing on the righteousness we have in Him, we are taught to focus on our own self- righteousness.

    For example, generational curses ( we are no longer under the curse) or telling someone they must have sinned and God is punishing them.

    Then away I consider this.. proof here that we are no longer under the law???

    “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

    Sorry this is long it’s just something I keep wondering about.

    • Don Merritt says:

      It seems to me that we often confuse this whole subject based upon our approach to “sin” itself. Is “sin” a verb or a noun? The truth is, it is both a verb and a noun, and that can cause a lot of confusion. By the grace of God through Christ, we have become His righteousness, because He has taken our sin (noun) away. Nevertheless, we are not perfect in our daily lives and so periodically we all fall short of the mark because we sin (verb). Yet when we do and we acknowledge our error, God is faithful to forgive us. See the difference?

      Some folks like to emphasize the latter while tending to minimize the former, and the result is unfortunate to say the least, leading to feelings of fear, guilt, unworthiness and fear, even doubt of our faith. We must always remember the whole picture and take comfort and confidence that God keep His promises, even if we stumble from time to time.

      I hope that helps.

      • Denine says:

        Thanks for your reply. I’ve given this much thought and I keep coming back to this question,

        If we say we continue to sin, it seems in opposition to the verse,

        “And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”


        “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” 1 John 5:18

        So what keeps coming back to my mind is this. We have become new creations for identity is now in Christ. Sin is now outside of who we are.

        Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

        And I like this bible verse I read from your post from today. Again…

        No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

        If I believe that this means I am to be perfect in and of mysef that easly becomes is self-righteousness.


        “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:2-3

        In math I was pretty good. I could always understand it better by showing how I got there. By showing my work.

        Thanks again!

        • Don Merritt says:

          Take another look at the example of Abraham: Why was he found righteous? Not because he never sinned, he really messed up a few times, no, it wasn’t his perfection. It was that even though he messed up, he believed God, he believed God’s promise of forgiveness, and the same applies to us.

          • Denine says:

            I love this verse below. I think it sums up what I am trying to say about sin and sinning. Rrmember in Christ our sins have been washed away..

            No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

  2. DWMartens says:

    Verse 2 always matches in my mind to John’s Gospel record chapter 1, and Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians chapter 2. 1 John 3:2a “Dear friends, now we are children of God, …”; John 1:12 “… to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 1 John 3:2b “… what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”; 1 Cor. 2:9-10 “…, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’— the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.”
    When I am in a discussion about what heaven and hell are like, the two main points I try to make are: whatever else heaven may be, the best and greatest is that God is there and we are with Him; whatever else hell may be, the worst and most torturous will be that it is apart from God.

  3. Tom says:

    This is one of my many favorite verses to think about. His great love for me and to even call me His child!

  4. My Way Home Life says:

    What jumps out at me is the reminder to demonstrate our love for God by obedience to him, and by striving to live a pure life.

  5. John says:

    I will have to agree with the other comments about living in sin and living in Christ, its mind blowing when you really think about it.

  6. Eugene Samolin says:

    Well put. ‘Eternal life’ is limited only by one’s imagination.

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