Accordingly, human notions of both power and purity were challenged, toppled, and then turned right-side-up by the gospel. Rome imposed its power by a sword; the church found its increase by a word that invited believers of every tribe and people.
This article presents another view, that the easy and natural reading of John 3 does not beg the importation of the Reformed idea. Indeed, this section does require readers to account for redemptive history, but not one in which that history’s individual beneficiaries are determined from eternity.
When John finally concludes his first epistle, he leaves the reader with an unparalleled certainty: The believer knows he has eternal life (1 John 5:12-13). This is the knowledge that is offered up against presumption, and it is the hope that stands against speculation. The modern reader is not without his own spiritual aspirations, but John writes of what the believer may know. Likewise, the ancient reader was not without his eternal ambitions, and John’s epistle associates this kind of knowledge with the Son of God.
The Christian is not merely one who strives to be what he ought to be, but he strives to act as he already is. And he is what he is because of who is Savior is, the Son of God. Consequently then, believers also possess their rightful title as sons of God. Happily, the believer’s present identity will eventually unfold into a future and fuller expression of this fact, whenever the Savior appears.