” 7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life(3:9 Greek because his seed) is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers (3:10 Greek does not love his brother.) does not belong to God.1 John 3:7-10
Truth is not relative with God. It is actual. There is evidence to it. If John had not made it clear earlier, he seeks to be specific here. Not only are those who use their adoption by God to sin liars, but they have other allegiance. Specifically, they are, in fact, “children of the Devil.” This is a drastic point of clarification that runs counter-intuitive to the political correctness of our day and age. Today’s wisdom would consider this type of rhetoric fundamentalism and shaming, but it is, in plain fact, the truth. John correctly notes that Jesus, to whom Christians pledge allegiance, came to undo the works of the Devil. How can one logically claim to be a follower of Christ, but cultivate the very thing he came to destroy? Moreover, he adds that those who follow Christ are compelled to follow through with righteous behavior. They develop a distaste, and some might say, a hatred for sin. This isn’t an interesting trait of Christians, it is a distinction. Christians can be known by their attitude toward sin. Their authenticity can be tested by whether they let sin run unchecked in their lives. This type of radical call to confession is exactly the lens the church must give to itself. There are many amongst its members who have a sincere want to follow Christ, but also a sincere dependency on their sinful lives. They have been taught that the two can peacefully coexist. You cannot call someone to repentance without confession. Without confession and repentance, there is no salvation, because there is no faith. We must be honest with ourselves before we can expect our relationship with God to take root and transform the term, “children of God,” into something meaningful in our lives.
This post first appeared at JoshMcGary.com