We are strange birds, at least in the eyes of the world. “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 the world does not know us is that it did not know him” (3:1). The world just does not understand why we live as we do. The world does not understand why we give away such amounts of our money and other things. The world does not understand how we can be so joyful in the midst of difficulty and trial. The world does not understand our love for and devotion to Jesus. Whatever the world thinks it knows or understands, though, “we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (3:2,3).
And so, John makes this application for us: “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you” (3:12,13). And not only do we expect the world’s enmity but we know that God loves us and that he gives us what we ask from him (3:22). And “he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us” (3:24). Strange birds indeed, but not in the eyes of God. In his eyes, we are his children!
Blessed are the sons of God,
they are bought with Christ’s own blood;
they are ransomed from the grave,
life eternal they shall have.
With them numbered may we be,
here and in eternity.
They are justified by grace,
they enjoy the Savior’s peace;
all their sins are washed away,
they shall stand in God’s great day.
They are lights upon the earth,
children of a heav’nly birth;
one with God, with Jesus one,
glory is in them begun. -- Joseph Humphreys (1743)