See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 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.”
1 John 3:1-2
A DIFFERENT KIND OF LOVE
What we name something or call something says a lot about how we view things in this life. I love how God in Genesis 2 brings what He has created, all the animals of the land and birds of the air, and allows man to name them. God gives us as humans the ability to place identity and worth on His creation.
Naming your child is such an honor. Thinking about the meaning and definition is exciting. It's a very daunting task for so many reasons. What's interesting is that when naming a newborn child there is nothing to really base it on in terms of who they are. You are not identifying the child by what they have done or not done. You may name the child based on your experience, or a feeling or your season of life at that particular moment but whatever the reason the name has really nothing to with the child's personal performance.
God, being all-knowing, did and does have something to base His calling of us on. He could call us based on our past sins, our present sins and our future sins. He could name us based on our turning away from Him. He could name us based on our fear or doubts. He could give us identity as our Father by our successes, our net worth, our job and our fame. But none of this is brought into the picture. He sees us and calls us not on what we have done but based on who He is.
So John the writer here calls us to change how we see ourselves. "See..." He calls us to see through the filter of the Father’s love. John calls us to see the "kind of love." It's no ordinary kind of love. He calls us to see that not only is the Father Love but that He gives us this love. How does He give us this love? By calling us not only saved through Christ, not only redeemed through Christ but we are now also children of God. He does not call us based on our performance but grounded and rooted in His love. We are not just saved from sin we are adopted into His family.
I pray my children live up to the meanings of what we have named them. But praise God they don't have to live up to or perform in order to be called by God. And so it is with us. Today we can stop living from a place of trying to be accepted as valuable in His sight but we can live out of the assurance of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done.
It is easy for us to call ourselves something, in our thoughts, to name our lives based on what we have done or haven't done, what has happened to us or what we have done to others. But this love clears all these names with the blood of Christ. Giving us a fresh start, a new call, a renewed identity. It's who we truly are called to be.
See what kind of love this is? A love that the world doesn't recognize. The world calls things as they are. God calls those things that are not as though they were. The world forces us to prove our identity. Our Father proves our worth in His son Jesus Christ. Everything that we could of been called—condemned, separated, forgotten, lost, failure, rejected—all fell on Jesus on the cross, so that we may be called and are now called children of God.
Live now as a child, no longer a slave, no longer an orphan, no longer a prodigal but a son or daughter of God. Behold this kind of love. It's His gift to you and I. May we freely receive it this Advent season.
Ps Josh Kelsey