“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
what manner of love
More than God’s love is at issue here. It is more than that He loved us; it is how He loved us. The words “what manner” connote quality. Note the quality of the Father’s love. His love is perfect and unconditional. He wraps His love in the sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ.
The New Testament uses “manner” seven times. Here are a couple uses of the word “manner:”
Mt 8: 27 “So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who [what quality of person] can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’”
2 Pe 3: 11 “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”
The word “love” is not primarily an emotional word; instead, it describes an attitude where the mind and will are the overriding idea. God loves sinful people not because they are loveable but in spite of the fact that they are not loveable. God always seeks our highest good. His loves never wavers toward us.
Ro 5: 8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christians need to hold in high regard the nature of God’s love.
Do you esteem the love of God? We see His love best in the transformation of sinful people into the children of God by the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin. Note what kind of love, what quality of love, what depth of love, and what viscosity of love that is! No love is like God’s love for us. His love exceeds the love of a mother for her child.
Je 31: 3 “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’”
Ro 8: 38 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ep 2: 4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…”
2 Th 3: 5 “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.”
No poet or preacher can exhaust the love of God. He loves us in pain as much as in health. He loves us as much when we are pinched financially as when we are prosperous. We should not confuse God’s gifts with God’s love. It is a distortion of great moment to say that I can tell how much God loves me by how much He blesses me materially.
The Spirit of God directs us again and again to the love of God and the quality of His love for us. We so easily forget His love for us.
2 Co 13: 11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”