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 be has 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 reassurance—God loves you. He repeats this and wants to deeply impress it on our hearts. He also reassures us 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. But we shouldn’t let that lead us astray, because “what we will be has not yet been made known.”
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 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. It isn’t yet clear to us what our future happiness will be, nor will it become clear. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Corinthians 2:9).
Edited by James C. Galvin
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.