I John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 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.
God is not promoting works salvation here. He is repeating a well known Biblical fact. Those that are saved will do righteously. We do righteousness because we are saved, not in order to be saved. We do righteousness because we have been made righteous in Christ Jesus.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
As we have noted so often, God’s salvation is such a powerful and wonderful event that it will amaze the person who is saved as well as those who know that person. That is what the Bible teaches. In verse 8 we are reminded that sin is of the devil and the person who sins is yielding to the devil. No born again Christian wants to be identified with the devil. Yet, when we teach that Christians can keep their sins we are not only teaching heresy, but we are also teaching confusion. The Christian needs to look and act like a child of God.
At Jesus’ trial, Peter tried hard to be part of the group around the fire, but three times he was called out for being one of Jesus’ disciples. Peter was different than that group that was there. This was prior to Acts 2, but already at that time, Peter was different. He went so far as to curse and to swear to try to distance himself from the Lord Jesus Christ. None of it worked. After trying that foolish stunt, Peter heard the cock crow again and he remembered the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. He went out and wept bitterly. Peter was not that rough and tough fisherman that he had once been. His heart had been changed and he needed the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to fortify him in Christ.
After Jesus’ ascension, every born again Christian has received the same Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. We can please God. We have the power to please God. We must please God if we are saved.
In verse 8 we are further told that Jesus Christ was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil. The devil has a powerful hold on the lost. However, when a person is saved, that hold is broken. The saved person is not bound in sin. He has been loosed and he can and must glorify God.
In verse 9 we are again reminded that the born again Christian does not live in sin. This is again written in the present tense. Born again Christians have been adopted into God’s family and His seed abides in the true child of God. His seed “remaineth in him”. God does not remove His Holy Spirit from the true child of God. His nature has been permanently changed. He is a new creature in Christ. The true child of God cannot live in sin because he is born of God. It is contrary to the new nature to live in sin. This is so clear in God’s Word. No Christian has bragging rights. No Christian needs to walk around defeated. The true Christian needs to be taught who they are in Christ. The apostle Paul was directed to write:
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
That is in the context of living the Christian life. Everything that God requires of the Christian is possible when the child of God walks humbly with God. When the true child of God sins, God will chasten that saint. God loves His child too much to allow that person to persist in sin. God loves the lost too much to allow His child to be a stumblingblock to the lost.
In my years as a pastor, I have witnessed too many professing Christians trying to make excuses for sin, rather than addressing and forsaking sin. Paul reminds us that we are in a spiritual war. He says that in II Corinthians 10 as well as in Ephesians 6. It is also taught elsewhere. We are not in a losing war. We are in a winning war. We have the spiritual weapons needed to succeed in the war.
Iran is currently working on an underground site for its nuclear program that they believe is too deep for bunker busting bombs. They may be right, but that site is not too deep for God to hit with an earthquake. When it comes to the spiritual battle, the devil has no weapons that are greater than those of God. The true child of God needs to be taught to be equipped. This is again why faithfulness in a true local church is so important.
In verse 10 we are reminded that the children of God will be manifest to the world. God understands that the world is observing what is going on. Recently we heard a lost family speaking about a family that claimed to be saved. The “saved” family was seeking to destroy another family and the lost family noticed this and they commented that they thought those others were supposed to be Christians. The lost have an expectation regarding Christians. They are not always right, but Christians do not go around seeking to destroy Christians. Where there are differences, Christians need to humble themselves and seek to resolve those differences in a God-honouring way. That way is not through compromise. It is through submitting to the will and Word of God and walking in obedience to God’s way.
Those who do not do righteousness are not of God. That is what God says. That person does not love his brother. God knows the heart of each of His children. He also knows the heart of the lost. No one can fool God. He gives us these clear words to help us to understand that His child must be different. His child will not grudgingly be different. He will want to be different because the love of God is in that person. This must be understood. It must be believed.
God never expects anything from His child that He cannot provide for His child. What is required is for the true child of God to walk humbly with the Lord and grow in Him. Spend time in His Word and join a good church where you can grow and fellowship in the truth.