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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure."—1 John 3:1–3 (HCSB)
If you use the virtual assistant feature on your smart device (Siri, Google, Alexa, Echo, Watson, etc.) with any sort of regularity, you know that every once in a while your device doesn’t recognize something that you say. Based on its programming and the information it has within its system, these devices can’t always compute or understand our requests.
In this passage, we see John gushing about the marvelous, glorious, lavish love of God that we —hopeless, helpless sinners —receive by believing in Jesus. This gives us the right and privilege to be called children of God.
Being a child of God, one who is deeply loved, fully accepted, transformed from the inside out, and purified of all unrighteousness, we have an unstoppable hope and assurance. In Christ, we have victory, we have peace that surpasses understanding, we have a fullness of joy. Sadly, those who do not know Christ and have not been transformed by Him don’t have that. Matthew Henry wrote, “Little does the world know of the happiness of the real followers of Christ.” These ideas do not compute for the nonbeliever. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us that, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV).
You see, the world “does not understand our principles; the reasons of our conduct; the sources of our comforts and joys. The people of the world regard us as fanatics or enthusiasts; as foolish in abandoning the pleasures and pursuits which they engage in; as renouncing certain happiness for that which is uncertain; as cherishing false and delusive hopes in regard to the future, and as practicing needless austerities” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). And guess what? On their own, apart from Christ, they’ll never understand. Based on the sinful nature and everything that is within them, they don’t have the ability to comprehend or the knowledge to rationalize what being in Christ means.
But they can come to understand, they can come to know what it means to be a child of God. They can receive adoption . . . and God wants to use you to help them get there! Through your life, even if they don’t understand it, they can see something irresistible and amazing and be drawn to Jesus through you, so that, one day, they can see Him “when He appears.”
DIG: Have you found yourself in a situation you could not rationalize or understand or perceive?
DISCOVER: Why is it that the world cannot understand or know what it means to be in Christ apart from Him?
DO: Pray for someone who doesn’t know Jesus today. Pray that He will use you in some way to help them draw near to Him and receive Him.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.