Verses 1 through 3 focus on God’s love, and how His love results in believers becoming children of God. Becoming a child of God is seen as a great sign of love from God the Father. John specifically mentions that believers are not only “called children of God;” believers truly are God’s children. This theme closely connects with the words of John 1:12: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” God’s children are those who both receive Jesus as Lord and believe in His name as the risen Messiah.
John highlights this concept using the Greek term ideate, meaning, “look at this!” The idea that God would love us enough to make us His children is just one of the amazing aspects of the gospel.
John then notes why unbelievers do not “know” believers: Unbelievers do not know Christ. As used by John, the concept of “knowing” involves more than just information. It refers to a sense of intimacy, fellowship, and connection. The unbelieving world does not have a relationship with Christ. Therefore, they have no relationship with His children. God’s children are to become increasingly like The Father, regardless of whether others recognize us.