"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1). As believers, we have been adopted into the family of God. Do you realize how amazing it is that you can call God your Father? No one else but those who are in Christ can call God Father and approach Him with confidence and intimacy. Galatians 3:26 says, "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus."
Your Love Is Different
The phrase "what manner of love" can be understood as both quality—the essential character—and quantity—the measurable amount. A more literal translation of the phrase is, "From what country is this kind of love?" In other words, this love is foreign. It is alien. It is an altogether different kind of love.
Jesus described His love like this: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you" (John 15:9). Jesus loves you the way God loves Him. God and Jesus love each other the way God loves you. Behold!
Your Behavior Is Different
The apostle Peter tied together this manner of love idea to our manner of conduct as believers. In 2 Peter 3:11, he said, "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?" My friend, you are a foreigner, not only because your love is foreign to this world, but because your conduct is foreign in this world. Children of God should act very differently because we are loved very differently. Our conduct should be holy and godly.
You Look Different
John continued, "Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him" (1 John 3:1). Believers don't look like the world, because we look like Jesus. We have our Father's eyes, so to speak. Again, John said, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him" (John 1:10).
The world did not recognize Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, the world should not recognize you, either. In fact, Jesus warned us, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19). You have been chosen out of the world. You are supposed to stand out.
If you are a Christian, you are not who you used to be. But you're also not who you are going to be, for "it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (1 John 3:2). We won't be who we're fully intended to be until Jesus comes again. But when He does, we will be just like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
God saved you to make you like Jesus. When Jesus returns, everything God intended when He saved you is going to be actualized. You may not be much like Him now, but one day, you're going to look just like Him.
You Have Hope
"Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:3). To purify means to cleanse from defilement. The more you let go of the things in your life—setting aside "every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us" (Hebrews 12:1)—the closer you get to Christ, to loving like Him, behaving like Him, and looking like Him. He has not left you the same as He found you. To hope means to have a confident expectancy. Our hope is not just wishful thinking—it is a blessed assurance. When He returns, you will be redeemed.
Christian poet Martha Snell Nicholson penned these words: "The best part is the blessed hope of His soon coming. How I ever lived before I grasped that wonderful truth, I do not know. How anyone lives without it these trying days I cannot imagine. Each morning I think, with a leap of the heart, 'He may come today.' And each evening, 'When I awake I may be in glory.' Each day must be lived as though it were to be my last, and there is so much to be done to purify myself and to set my house in order."
The reality is that some of us are going to heaven, but some of us are not. Are you ready? Are your kids ready? Is your husband ready? Are your neighbors ready? Are your coworkers ready? The only thing you can take with you into heaven is another soul.
Lord, as I anticipate Your return, I recognize that there is time for mercy for those who aren't ready. Bring every person I meet into a redeeming relationship with You, that they might know Your love. Help me to love differently, behave differently, and look differently as I walk in the light. Lord, help me to delight in being set apart until Your return. In Jesus' name, amen.