The apostle John in 1 John 3:1 expressed amazement at the fact that God loves us with a genuine love that is massive in both its quantity and quality when he said, “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.”
Sure, it’s true we are God’s creation and there is some expectation that he should love us since he created us in his image, but as John implies in the context, God’s love becomes amazingly awesome when we consider that in our spiritual state of being fully tainted by our sin he bestowed love on us.
To say he “bestowed” that love on us means we could not have earned it since we were in an unattractive, unworthy, unlovable state of active rebellion against God when the Lord Jesus crossed our path with his gracious offer of salvation. His love is an act of great benevolence and compassion.
Jehovah’s love made it possible for us to be exalted from such a low state to be called the sons of God–a royal, dignified title worthy of honor. Such a title can only be acquired by Jehovah regenerating us with his righteousness through Christ alone, causing us to be “born of him” (1 John 2:29). He remade us to be “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) so we could be in union with him, exhibiting spiritual purity and love as we embrace his righteousness and truth. We should now have the dignity to resemble him in our morals, character, and conduct.
As recipients of his love who consciously acknowledge we are children of God, we have his Spirit in our hearts crying out “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:4-6) because the Lord has placed in us the desire to fulfill his purposes and to delight in doing so (Psalm 40:8). So we proceed to rely on him for strength to bear the fruit of the Spirit, to perform the gifts of the Spirit, to keep sin in check (1 John 3:3), and to embrace his comfort in our sorrows.
But this amazing love that saturates our very being has a negative reaction from the world. They just don’t get it. It’s strange to them that we didn’t remain in the same state as they are, being in slavery to their sin nature. Therefore, they feel better and more comfortable when they don’t associate with us, expecting that we should be like them. The more we resemble the Father, the more they don’t want to genuinely get to know us or accept us, unless the Father draws them (John 6:44).
Nevertheless, the true children of God won’t let that lead us to forsake the Lord since his love has such a hold on us. Even in the midst of temporary discouragement, the loving Spirit of God in us encourages us to press forward for the blessed hope that awaits us ahead (1 John 3:2) so we can “have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming,” (1 John 2:28).