In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. – 1John 3:10
The NIV starts verse 10 out this way, ‘This is how we know’. All throughout Scripture, obedience and love are the hallmarks of a true believer. 1 John 3:10 answers the question every believer should test themselves on: how do I know that I am saved?
God assures believers of their salvation through the Spirit. (1John 3:24) A believer’s renewed heart compels them to obey the will of the Father in obedience to His word and to love God and others in deed and truth. The presence of Christ in a believer is unmistakable to them over time.
And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. – 1John 3:24
Obedience and love. Like all of Scripture, 1 John chapter 3 continues to return to these two hallmarks of a believer. As you read through today’s Scripture: 1 John 3 and Psalm 41, be on the lookout for these. As you enjoy the fellowship of Christ today, feel the Spirit leading you to obedience and love.
If you have not committed your life to Christ, placed your trust in Him alone and repented from trusting in all other promises, imagine for a moment what your day would be like if you had. Your whole life made new. Ever going with a Companion who will reign in your heart and will never leave you. A companion who is Master over all, King of Kings, who leads you beside still waters in righteousness, who makes you to lie down in green pastures.
Last weekend I worked alongside a young man of 13 years. In conversation, we landed on the topic of a series of sci-fi books that he enjoys reading. The books are about a group of criminal clones. The characters in the story were cloned from the worst criminals in the world and raised in a controlled utopia environment. The question posed by the scientists conducting this experiment, “Were these criminals born this way?”. They wanted to see if the clones would show criminal tendencies in an environment free of negative influence.
“What an excellent question.” I said, “The Bible has the answer.” I asked him, “What is the book’s answer?” He told me that the criminal clones escaped and committed crimes. Here is what I told him.
The truth is that they were born that way. A utopia environment will not prevent people from becoming criminals. A bad environment does not turn people into criminals, though it can make the situation worse. The real issue is that we are all born with sin in our hearts. We all need Jesus to reign in our hearts. He is the only way to freedom from sin and death. These scientists were confused in thinking an environment causes people to be good or bad. What is good and what is bad? Only God is good. Those that do not want to listen to God, choose to compare themselves to other standards to determine if they are good or bad. The problem with that is no one gets to choose with whom to compare themselves to determine if they are good or bad. Even the worst of criminals will find something in this world to compare themselves with and think himself good. God is the true standard and He is perfect. He makes the rules. Jesus is our only hope. Those that accept God’s truth know they need help. They can ask Jesus to save them from what is in store for bad people and He will.
From today’s reading: John 9 and Psalm 111
39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. – John 9:39-41
While they said, “We see.” and felt assured in their salvation, the Pharisees compared themselves to the wrong standard.
Painting: The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Bruegel the Elder