By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.1 John 3:10(NASB)
One of the characteristics of the early Church is their love for one other and the fellowship that believers enjoyed together. Early writings about the Christian Church are reported to have said, "see how these Christians love one another." In John's first epistle to the saints of God, one of his main discussion points is about maintaining fellowship with the Lord and how to encourage Christian communion with one another.
The principles and responsibilities of Christian communion with God and man... and how to maintain fellowship with the Father and with one another, seems to weave its way throughout this letter like a silken thread. Genuine love for one another is the distinguishing mark of the children of God, which stands in stark contrast to the cold attitude displayed by the children of the devil. Indeed, we discover that anyone who does not practice righteousness and demonstrate godly love is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Maintaining communion and unity of the spirit seems to be a beacon of light that illuminates the pages of this letter, lighting up our path through the ever-deepening deceptions of this last hour in which we live and helping each one of us to discern what is of the Lord and that which comes from the evil one.
John sets the highest possible standard for Christian love and service in his epistle and identifies the love of our Father in heaven as the primary pattern for our own Christian behaviour. Love emanates from our God of love, for it was God Who loved us before we loved Him. Yet despite being dead in our sins and at enmity with Him, He was willing to call us His children - because of our faith in the sacrificial offering of His only begotten Son on our behalf.
It is only as the love of God is poured into our hearts by faith in Christ, that we are identified as His children, for Jesus is our blessed Hope - and all who have this godly love, joy, peace, and hope in our hearts, are purified. We are washed clean and declared righteous as God abides in us and as we abide in Him, to His honour and praise.
It is by applying the principles and practice of love which comes to us from our heavenly Father, that we can be identified as the children of God and not as the children of the devil. "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious - anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."
Although our old sin nature may cause us to fall into sin during our time on earth... nevertheless we praise our heavenly Father that we have a new nature - a new born-again life in Christ which is pure and holy. And it is only as we abide in Him and His perfect, resurrected life abides in us, and works in us and through us, that the life of the Lord Jesus is enabled to live in us, grow in us, and work through us.
It is this new life in Christ that identifies us as children of God. By this, the contrast between the children of God and the children of the devil is very evident... for anyone who does not practice righteousness or love his brother is not of God, nor does he know God.
Only those that are born from above have the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus within... and only they can walk in newness of life and show forth the righteousness of Christ in their daily living. It is as we show forth the love of God in all we do and in all we say, that the character of Christ is identified in us.
However, the opposite is true of those who do not have the indwelling Spirit of Christ by faith. Those who have not been born from above are incapable of practicing the righteousness that comes from God - and this lack of godly love is what identifies them as being children of the devil.
May we who have been born from above, mature in the faith, walk in spirit and truth, grow in grace, and abide in Christ Jesus our Lord, day by day... so that His life and love, goodness and grace, may pour into our hearts from Him, and stream out in love to others.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am a child of God and that the life of the risen Lord Jesus is dwelling in me. Help me to live and work to Your praise and glory. May I cast off the works of darkness and be clothed in the armour of light, so that others may see Christ working in and through me, to His praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.