Daily Devotional

1 John 3:1 - “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (NKJV)

According to the Bible, there are only two kinds of children in the world—the children of God and the children of the devil (cf. 1 John 1:12–13 and John 8:39–44).  That’s a very stark and startling reality.  But it helps us appreciate the enormous implications of what John says in the verse above.  When God drew our hearts to faith in Christ, he translated us out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13–14), and transformed us from children of wrath into children of God (Ephesians 2:1–7).

Such a realization should move us to explode with gratitude, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us! How blessed we are!  How rich!  How privileged that God would adopt us into his own family and make us royal heirs, sons and daughters of the King!”

This is the glory of the doctrine of divine adoption.  In our fallen world, human love is wonderful.  But God’s love is far greater!  When was the last time you stopped for 5 minutes to “behold” what kind of marvelous, peculiar love God has lavished upon you?

First, it is an eternal love.  Jeremiah 31:3 says: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Second, it is an unconditional love.  The word “bestowed” means “given.”  It reminds us that God’s love can never be earned or deserved.  It’s a gift that comes from his unmerited favor, or grace.  Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Third, it is a fatherly love.  In the book Knowing God, J.I. Packer explains that our adoption by God is the highest and greatest of all the privileges we receive with the gift of salvation… and then he makes this incredible statement: “To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater.”

When my daughter Gracie was born, I was privileged to be the first person to see her come out of the womb.  When I beheld her face for the first time, it took my breath away.  It was like looking into a mirror and seeing a unique reflection of myself.  It’s hard to describe the joy and wonder of that moment.  

I believe that is a tiny glimpse of what it’s like when God looks at his children.  

Each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and when the Father looks at us, he doesn’t see the ugliness of our sin anymore.  He sees us robed in the perfect, spotless, infinite righteousness of Christ, and he sees the glory of his own image shining in us.  

Sometimes wonderful things become commonplace over time if we start taking them for granted.  My prayer for us today is that we don’t take God’s love for granted.  May we never lose the awe and wonder of our divine adoption into God’s family, and may we never stop beholding the Father’s great love for us.
New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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