1Jn 3:7-10 “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”
I realize there are many who read these scriptures and draw the conclusion that John is telling us about one group of people who are going to spend eternity with God and another group who are going to spend eternity separated from God. We often draw this conclusion because of the expressions “born of God” and “born of the devil.” For this same reason, many conclude that Jesus was telling a group of Jews in John 8:44 they were not God’s children eternally when He said to them “Ye are of your father the devil…” However, if we read carefully and go back to the beginning of this particular conversation, in John 8:31 Jesus spoke these words to “those Jews which believed on him…” In a similar manner, Jesus referred to Peter as Satan in Matthew 16:23. I make these references simply to point out that we cannot automatically assume that being referred to as Satan (the devil) or the children of the devil means that we are eternally separated from God.
The theme of John’s letter has been about his great love of the truth and of God’s people who have been called to manifest the truth and their relationship with God the Father. Doing righteousness is a positive manifestation that we are righteous even as Jesus is righteous. We are righteous even as Jesus is righteous from a literal sense because He has imputed His righteousness unto us. This is manifested (made apparent) when we (who are by nature unrighteous sinners) do the things of God while we live here. When we follow after the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1Jn 2:16), then we are following the ideology of the devil. I am sure there are many of God’s children who are caught up in the so-called prosperity gospel of this day and time. This is an ideology of the devil; as followers of this ideology, they are the children of the devil. He is the father of any belief that honors man before it honors God.
That which is born in us of God does not commit sin because God’s seed remains in us and that seed cannot sin. This is an absolute fact. However, there is a manifestation or display of this truth in His obedient children because they do righteousness and love their brother. In this, we are not only the children of God for eternity, but we are also the children of God in belief and action here in time. On the other hand, those who follow the ideologies of men, even when they are cloaked in some semblance of worship, manifest that they are (in their belief and action) the children of the devil. Until God revealed His Son in us, our walk declared us to be the children of the devil. After God revealed His Son in us, our walk declared us to be the children of God. According to His will and purpose, we were always His children. By His grace, those He calls into His kingdom here make that manifest.
In endeavoring to write more, I have discovered that it is sometimes difficult to put my thoughts on a page in an orderly fashion that always conveys my meaning and feeling. There are some important distinctions here, but I fear I have not conveyed them as well as I would like. It is my prayer that God would always bless these efforts to His glory and the edification of His children. If I leave you at times wondering “What is he saying?”, and that wonderment causes you to dig deeper in God’s word, then I am content with that. Whether you agree or disagree is not nearly as important as whether or not you are stirred up to study more deeply in His word.
May we not be deceived by any man; it is Christ in us that is righteous and that does not commit sin!