Summary: John teaches the difference between the two
“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 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. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.”
I’m going to begin by going slightly out of bounds and referring you back to the final verse of chapter 2. I do this, because we can almost get the sense that as John finished his thought there, his last words inspired the anthem of rejoicing that begins chapter 3.
So here is 1 John 2:29
“If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”
“Born of Him”.
Listen. If you are in the church because it seemed at some point like a good idea; because it was a place to find mutual support or because it was a good place to raise your children in a world that is spinning so out of control; or for any other self-serving reason, then you cannot know the meaning of being ‘born of Him’.
The true Christ-follower has not just joined an organization or subscribed to a choice of lifestyle that looks more beneficial than some other options out there. The true Christian, ushered by Christ through faith into grace and filled with His Holy Spirit, is ‘born of Him’. And with that I want to dive into these verses that are our text today, and begin by echoing John’s rejoicing…
BESTOWED UPON US
“See, how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are.”
What a rich declaration! Verses 1-12 have been chosen from which to build a sermon, but we could easily stay right here and go no farther and leave blessed and helped today.
How great is the love that God the Father has lavished upon us, and how is this great love demonstrated? In that He has called us ‘children of God’? Yes, and more! That He has made us children of God! See John’s words of assurance?
‘And such we are’!
Now here is what must be understood about Christianity and about the Christian, and I touched on it a minute ago. We are something. We have been made something. God did this. Everywhere you look in the New Testament you will find declarations of this truth; that it is God who has taken those who were dead in their sins and their transgressions and has given them life. He has made them a new creature. He has even made them a kingdom of priests serving God, according to Revelation 5:10, and more than that He has made them His children in that they are born out of Him. We are born of God.
Now what John has shown in the verses of our text is the eternal and absolute difference between those who are born of God and those who are not. We’ll spend our time today looking at the differences and finding out what separates saints from sinners.
INVISIBLE TO THE WORLD
The first thing I want you to see is that the saints are invisible to the world. The world doesn’t know us because the world did not know Christ. I will explain that further, but first I want to make sure everyone understands what is meant by the term ‘saint’.