Summary: This passage centers around one basic truth for people that believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. People that believe in God and in Jesus Christ are considered to be “children of God.” Focus on purity as God's children.
CHILDREN OF GOD
RESPONSIVE READING [READ 1 John 3:1-17]
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.
5 But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. 7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. 11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous.
13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
CHILDREN OF GOD: OUR IDENTITY
This passage centers around one basic truth for people that believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. People that believe in God and in Jesus Christ are considered to be “children of God.” Now I know this might be different than what we normally think. Normally we think that all people all over the world are all God’s children. That simply isn’t true. While all people all over the world were certainly created by God uniquely, not all of them are God’s children.
We are children of God not because of anything we have done, but because God has adopted us by His own willful actions into His forever family. God offered Jesus Christ as payment for us. His children are those who accept Jesus in faith as Savior and Lord. John 1:12-13 reminds us, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, He gave the right to become children of God-- 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.” We who are believers accepted God’s gift of salvation from Jesus Christ.
What marks a person as a child of God?
Mark #1: We have the Holy Spirit in us which marks us as belonging to God. All of God’s children bear the same mark. All of God’s children have the same Holy Spirit inside of us as a marker of belief. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.” Now this is not something that is physical on the outside, but is a change and a presence on the inside of a person which marks them as God’s child. The presence of that Spirit leads to the next mark.
Mark #2: As children of God, we are not only marked by the Holy Spirit, but the presence of the Spirit creates in us a desire to be obedient to our Heavenly Father. As children of God, we want to be like our Father who adopted us. We want to be like Him. We want to look like Him. We want to sound like Him. Ephesians 5:1-2 commands us, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” And 1 John 5:2 says, “This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.”