See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. 1 John 3:1 NASB
Bestowed – In the New Testament this Greek word (dedoken) belongs to the same cognate group as the word for gift. It could be translated as giving, granting, presenting or bestowing. It is particularly important because it indicates that the ultimate gift-giver is God Himself and the ultimate gift given is peace with God through His Son.
In this verse, John expresses how unimaginably wonderful it is to know that God the Father loved us so much that He chose to favor us by calling us His children. Adoption, especially adoption of those who were once enemies, is an amazing display of the divine desire for reconciliation. We are the children of God because He says we are, not because we did anything to deserve being His children but simply because we were favored with His gift to us. For everyone seeking recovery from a history of disobedience, this proclamation of God’s love towards us tells us something very important about who we are. It tells us that we matter to God. In fact, God places so high a value on us that He gave us the best gift He could – the gift that would bring us back to Him. When we are trapped in destructive lives, we are often faced with the despair of self-worthlessness. But God says “No!” to this inner degradation. God says that we are worthy of His love.
I am sure you’ve seen lots of self-help books claiming to help you create a “new” you, but the only book that can create a completely new you is the one God wrote. It is the only book that lets God rewrite your life. And that’s what we need. When we try to make a new person of ourselves, we must always build on the existing foundation. We are only able to remodel the mess we’ve made. But God is able to do re-construction. He is able to create a foundation and build from there. Anyone who has ever struggles with an addiction knows that we didn’t need self-help. It was our “self” that was causing the problems. We needed God to give us a new “self.” We needed God to remake the human being in us.
Of course, there is effort involved in this reconstruction, but from the human side of the equation, our effort is to allow God to set the foundation and then follow His instructions for building the temple on that foundation. God lays the groundwork. We cannot do that, but we can put aside all our twisted plans and build straight walls of obedience after the foundation is in place. The great gift is His declaration that we can be trusted to do what He asks. The great gift is His declaration that we belong to Him. The great gift is “peace on earth and good will toward men.” He has provided for our reconciliation. The great gift isn’t forgiveness. It is fellowship. Forgiveness is simply the by-product of God’s determination to include us in His family.
Topical Index: gift, dedoken, forgiveness, family, 1 John 3:1