A Meditation on the Father's Love.

When we look carefully into the choice opening verses of the third chapter of John's First Epistle our hearts are thrilled with the sense of divine love. The verses referred to read, "See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God. For this reason the world knows us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God, and what we shall be has not yet been manifested; we know that if it is manifested we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every one that has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:1-3 N.Tr.).

These are wonderful and precious words which demand our earnest consideration, the first word, "Behold," or "See." indicating this. We are exhorted to be engaged with the character of the Father's love, which brings us into His family as children. (The Authorised Version reads "sons," which rather speaks of the position of dignity and relationship into which we have been adopted in the grace of God; the word "children" is more correct here, where the family of God, into which we have been born, is before the writer.) As children we can consciously enjoy the knowledge of the relationship into which the Father has brought us, and in the family circle, as children we can respond to the outflowing of the Father's love towards us. This is the kind of love we are to be occupied with.

A mother's love will suffer much in devotion to her child, but it is because of the relationship in which the child stands to her; but the love of God has set itself upon those who, in themselves, are unlovable, and His sovereign love has acted towards us in Christ, so as to bring us before Himself as children and into the sense of all that this term of endearment means. The world does not, and cannot, comprehend this relationship; it is outside its sphere altogether, for the world has not the nature and the life which belong to those who are born of God. When the Son of God was here, the world never understood Him; they did not know Him, for the divine life that was manifested constantly in Him was not in them. In the same way, the world does not know those in whom the same divine life is seen today, even in the children of God. But how blessed it is that the youngest child in the family of God has the conscious knowledge of the Father, and can enjoy His love.

To further assure our hearts, the apostle says, "Beloved, now are we the children of God." We are not to wait for some future time for this wonderful knowledge that we have been brought into the family of God; we are children now, just as we shall be when in the Father's House. Would that our hearts had hold of this more! The Apostle John was deeply affected by the knowledge of divine love. Five times in this epistle, and three times in the third epistle, he addresses God's children as "Beloved."

What we shall be, as blessed by God, and glorified along with Christ, has not yet been manifested, although the truth of it has been unfolded to us in God's word. When Christ is manifested in glory there shall also be the manifestation of the saints, as sons of God, in glory with Him. Then it is that we shall be like Him.

But we shall also "See Him as He is." When we are like Him, we shall have part with Him in the display of His glory; but we shall also see Him in His personal glory in which none can share, even as He desired of the Father, when He said, "Father, as to those whom Thou hast given me, I desire that where I am they also may be with me, that they may behold my glory which Thou hast given me, for Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). There is that which belongs peculiarly to the Son in which no one can have part, but how wonderful the love that has brought us so near to behold and admire this eternal glory.
"Oh, Jesus Lord, Who loved us like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Thy saints the prize and travail of Thy soul."

How our hearts should look forward to the manifestation of the Son of God, to the blissful time when we shall see Him and be like Him, for His own praise and glory. If this hope is before us, it will reflect Christ in our lives; it will make us watchful, and keep us from the defilement of the world, purifying us, even as He is pure.

What kind of love then is this which has done so much for us; bringing us into such blessedness as children of God? Though children, we are still passing through this world, but we can ever be looking forward to the day of manifestation, having the present consciousness of the great love the Father has bestowed upon us, which brings deep joy and satisfaction into our hearts.
H. Taberner.