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 why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will behas not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:1-2)

John wants to protect against faintheartedness by giving each of us this—God loves you. He repeats this and wants to deeply impress it on our hearts.

He also reassures the regenerated Christian that we are called children of God. It’s difficult to recognize that we are children of God because we are still in these bodies and we experience troubles from the world and ourselves.

We don’t yet feel like children of God because we are still in these bodies. But we shouldn’t let that lead us astray, because what we will be has not yet appeared.

John tells us about the hidden Son of God. Previously, Christ revealed himself in the shadows, but he didn’t reveal himself completely.

And God could not conceal himself any more than he does now. Nevertheless, God doesn’t withdraw himself from us. But the world, the sinful nature, and the devil obscure our vision so that we don’t see God.

The world is one layer, the sinful nature the second, and the devil the third. We must  break through all these layers with faith, which comes from the Word of God.

This is how we are children of God—not by physically seeing God, but by believing in God. Faith in the Word promises great things to us about what we will become.

Yet as long as we are in the world, our sinful nature entices us and the devil seduces us. As such, it isn’t yet clear to us what our future happiness will be, nor will it become clear in this life.

“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). ((Martin Luther, Faith Alone [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005], October 2))

Martin Luther

Further reading