By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious
1 John 3:10. New American Standard Bible
10 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 and sister.
Obedience to God’s word and walking in love are the two determining factors of whether a person is truly a child of God or not. It is important to understand that our works, behavior, nor performance save us. But walking in obedience and loving our brother or sister in Christ are outward manifestations of God’s nature within us.
As a child of God our desire will be to walk in obedience. No one is going to have to convince us whether or not we should walk in obedience. We won’t desire to walk in obedience simply because it will somehow equate to God blessing us. We will desire to walk in obedience because we know Him, and we love Him.
Jesus said those who love me will obey my commands. The natural response of a true child of God is one of obedience. John states that people are either children of God or children of the devil. In our world and culture today, this seems like very strong language. Some may even ask: what do you mean some people are children of the devil? A person is a child of the devil when they live in rebellion against the Living God.
Every person born on this earth is born into sin. A person doesn’t become a child of God until they come to faith in Jesus Christ. It is sin that separates people from God. When Adam and Eve sinned, every person born after them in human history is born into sin. Those who continue in sin and reject God and His ways are children of the devil.
The reason John continues to hammer this point home is because the false teachers of John day treated sin as if it was nothing. Some claimed to be sinless and some claimed that in Christ sin didn’t matter because His grace and righteousness covers everything. God does forgive our sin, but if our nature has truly been changed, we will desire to walk in obedience to His ways. His word is the playbook for our lives, to reject the word of God is to reject God Himself.
Not only is obedience an outward manifestation of the new nature within us, love is the defining mark of every Christian. If we simply walk in love, we walk in obedience. Love not only for God and who He is, but we love our neighbor as ourselves. When we come to Christ and abide in Him, the supernatural love of God is manifested in us. It is not something of ourselves, it is a result of the Spirit of God living within us and tangibly changing us. Those who claim to be in Christ but fail to walk in love must truly examine their hearts to see if they are truly children of God.
Because we have cheapened the gospel today to build large buildings and churches, it has caused many to live with a wrong understanding of what it means to follow Christ. What makes a person a Christian is not that they attend church, listen to sermons, hang out with other Christians, or like social media post that are Christian based. What truly makes a person a Christian is knowing Christ intimately. It is when we know Him that everything changes. It is when we know Him that we no longer desire this world or to live for this world, but we desire to live for Him and glorify His name in all things.