Children of God
28Children, stay one in your hearts with Christ. Then when he returns, we will have confidence and won't have to hide in shame. 29You know Christ always does right and everyone who does right is a child of God.
1 Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don't know who we are. 2My dear friends, we are already God's children, though what we will be hasn't yet been seen. But we do know when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.
4Everyone who sins breaks God's law, because sin is the same as breaking God's law. 5 You know Christ came to take away our sins. He isn't sinful, 6and people who stay one in their hearts with him won't keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don't know Christ, and they have never seen him.
7Children, don't be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself. 8Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done. 9God's children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power lives in them and makes them his children, so they cannot keep on sinning. 10You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other.
What or who are you depending on? What is most important to you? Is it a habitual behavior, like lying to others or manipulating them to get what you want? Is it self-gratification where you pursue things to feel good, in control, and better than most people? Or is it power by knowing the right people, positioning yourself and saying whatever it takes to get ahead and make more money?
Or are you joined to Jesus (John 15:4)? Resting, living, walking beside him, listening, talking, hanging out with him, staying with him to get to know him and look more like him? If this is what we are doing, then over time we will begin to see changes in who we are. The things that used to entice us and motivate us will fade in comparison because we will desire Jesus more.
As we continue in this letter, we are seeing more clearly a challenge John is putting before us. In short, what is our way of life? Is it staying one with Jesus (v 28) or staying in sin and breaking God’s law (3:4 and 6)?
As God’s children we get to decide. God didn’t create us as mechanical robots, programmed to act on command but as humans designed with a will and the ability to analyze and choose. What underpins and defines our relationship with God as his children is not rule following or striving to be perfect. It is love, God’s lavish, merciful, compassionate love (3:1). Therefore, love should be our response. When we know we are loved deeply by God, when we are living in his love, then who we are and our decisions will reflect that (see John 15:9,10).
Today, ask the Lord to show you who to love – who to show his love to (v 10). He wants us to practice his love to others as we live in him.
Thank you, Jesus, for your love that defines our relationship. Thank you that it is active and full of life, not passive or static. Today identify someone I can love actively who doesn’t know you. Fill me with your love for them so that they will see you as you are. Amen.