Behold, What Manner of Love!
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.”
(I John 3:1)
God begins this verse with the word “Behold”. In current American culture, there is not much “beholding” going on. We have “fast food”, “sound bites”, “instant messaging”, 30 second commercials, and many other such things that condition us to move along rapidly from one thing to the other. We can travel from one place to another at speeds that would boggle the minds of generations past…and yet we are still in a hurry. But God says, “behold”. To behold is to “see”, to pause and take the time to understand.
King David wrote the following:
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.”
“Muse” means to think or to ponder. My wife and I mused when we took five hours one day and studied a few chapters of Genesis together. I muse when I go into the wilderness every year where I can fast, pray, and meditate upon God's word without worldly distractions.
Amuse is the opposite of “muse” and it means to not think - to not ponder. We live in a world that tricks us into “amusing” ourselves. This is one of the devil’s ploys to keep our minds dominated and controlled by the shallow things of this world, rather than by the things of God that are of eternal importance.
In our verse, God tells us plainly that he wants his children to ponder the manner (the kind or quality) of love that he has bestowed upon us. Bestow means to give. God has bestowed his love upon those of us who have been born into his family. He bestowed it upon us. He gave it upon us. It’s like he just poured a big bucket of his love right on top of us. What manner of love could this be? It is a love that enables us to be called the “sons of God”. Have you ever considered this kind of love?
To understand this love, we need to understand what we are before becoming his sons.
We are lost:
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”
We are dead:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”
We are sinners:
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Given that by my very nature I was a lost and dead sinner, how could God have made me his son?
“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
You see, I could only have been accepted as his son by being accepted in the beloved. In other words, it is through Christ that I was enabled to become his son. The way to become God’s son was made possible to me through Jesus’ death on the cross. I did not hang on that cross for my sins - he did. It was not through my works that I became God’s son, it was through his work. My part was simply to turn from sin and receive Christ as my Saviour through faith.
“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Behold, what manner of love
the Father hath bestowed upon us,
that we should be called the sons of God