1John 3:1-12 — Sons of God, or Sons of the Devil

(Presented at Kingdom First Conference – May 2019)

1Jn 3:1-12

1. See what manner of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God! Because of this, the world does not know us because it did not know Him.
2. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it is not yet manifested what we shall be; but we know that when He shall be manifested we shall be like Him! For we shall see Him as He is.
3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.
4. Everyone that practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
5. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin.
6. Whoever abides in Him does not sin; whoever sins has not seen Him, nor knows Him.
7. Little children, let no one lead you astray: he that practices righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.
8. He that practices sin is of the devil, because from the beginning the devil sins. For this the Son of God was manifested, that He might undo the works of the devil.
9. Whosoever is born of God does not practice sin, because His seed is in him; and he is not able to sin because he is born of God.
10. In this are manifested the children of God and the children of the devil. Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, and he who does not love his brother.
11. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
12. not as Cain who was of the wicked one and slew his brother.  And why did he slay him?  Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.

The Apostle John writes in his gospel account, and in his letters to those in the household of faith, in terms of black-and-white. There is no middle ground with him. You are either in, or out of, the Kingdom of God.
(I may also sound like that in this teaching.) John sees the big picture from the beginning, with its seed and roots, and its fruitful end – whether good, or evil. (Gen 3:15; Mt 7:15-20) The beginning chapters of the Bible in Genesis are historical facts and truth to John. God chose Abraham because He knew him, that Abraham would command his children and his household after him to keep the Way of YHVH, to do righteousness and justice. (Gen 18:17-19) This Way distinguishes the Way of the LORD – the way of the cross, of suffering for the Kingdom of God, of self-denial – from the ways of Cain or of Lamech, which manifest self-determination, religious envy, and “competition”. (Gen 4) It is not about our narrative compared to someone else’s, but of God’s about His Son Jesus Christ, and about His son Israel.

If someone gives themselves over to oppose God, he will do the works of the devil, making him a son of the devil. Not only Jews, but also those called Christians – all claiming to be children of Abraham — can oppose Jesus for who He is, for what He does, and will do in God’s way. (Jn 8:37-47) In our context here in this conference, both of our peoples have learned to walk in ways contrary to the Way of YHVH, whether through Judaism or through Islam, or through ‘the world’. Christianity has sadly taken on elements of all of these other ways.  There is only one Abrahamic faith, and he saw Yeshua’s/Jesus’ day, and was glad.  All who believe in Him — in the sacrificial death, burial,  and resurrection of Yeshua/Jesus, the Son of the Promise — are children of Abraham.

Through the Prophet Malachi, God tells His people that He seeks holy, godly seed; therefore He tells us to hate divorce, and to be faithful to our covenant with our wives [and husbands], even as He is. (Mal 2:15-17; Ezra 9:1-4; Jer 31:31-37) Yet we see in the Body of Christ more and more divorces, more mixed marriages with unbelievers, and justifying it even if for reasons other than what the Lord allows. (Mt 5:31-32; 2Cor 6:14-18)

Our Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to glorify Him by our love and faithfulness to His Son Jesus Christ in the Spirit of Holiness and Truth. We have been born again and baptized to put away the former life of sin and rebellion, and to walk in the new life unto God in the power of the Holy Spirit, for His will to be done in His way, both in our personal lives, and also in our churches, and ultimately, when the Lord returns, in the nations and the world-at-large.

Noah found favor with God as being righteous in a wicked generation, a generation that Jesus compares to ours. It was not easy for Noah! Look at our own situation today, and the requirement to practice righteousness in our fear and love for our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He is not calling us to be “relatively righteous” compared to “sinners”, but to a purity of heart, mind, and deed that demonstrates that we are children of the one true God. (Gen 6:9-10; 7:1; Mt 24:37-39)

Sin is lawlessness, rebellion. It is disobedience towards God. It began with Lucifer, now the Devil, and he brought it to Eve and Adam. It is not simply breaking laws – whether God’s Law or those of mere men. Lawlessness does not recognize any law to submit to for the good of all, and those who are lawless cause others to sin with them. The antichrist is the man of sin, the man of lawlessness – the seed of the serpent in fullness, just as Jesus is the Seed of the woman as the Son of Man/Son of God in fullness. The Apostle Judas Iscariot is called the son of perdition, the same as the antichrist. This is a warning for us who are disciples of Messiah, that we walk humbly with our God. (2Thes 2:1-12; Jn 17:12; Mic 6:8)  The Son of God even addressed Peter as Satan, when Peter impulsively reacted to the truth that the Messiah was going to be rejected, abused, and crucified.  Yeshua came to undo the works of the devil, and to restore us to a right relationship with God and with other people, sanctifying the holy name of our Father and Savior.

If we have God’s seed in us, we no longer sin in the sense of not knowing and accepting the only true God and His sovereign will, and we will worship Him alone. He is not to be compared nor equaled with any other god. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ His Son; and no one can know the Father except to whom Jesus has revealed Him. We all still commit sins; but we can never justify them or excuse them. There are those who teach “once-saved-always-saved”, no matter what sins a person may practice or approve afterward. This passage in 1John seems to refute that doctrine. (see also Rev 2:18-29)  There is a tension between the work of God in us, and of our part to make our calling and election sure.  We all should be sensitive to sin in us and acting out from us, confessing it to our Father, thanking Him for forgiving us because of Jesus and His death on the cross for our sins. We will do this if we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and all that is within us; and if we love our brothers and sisters in Christ before others, and our neighbor as ourselves, and even our enemies. (Mt 5:43-48)  What a high calling we have in Christ to manifest that we are the children of God! Thank God for Jesus our Savior!

God has a purpose for establishing human government with laws to maintain a peaceable society. Even though no society or nation now is governed by God’s law properly, nonetheless, the Apostle Paul writes that whoever rebels against the authorities is rebelling against God, and will bring judgment on themselves. (Gen 9:1-7; 1Pt 2:13-17; Rom 13:1-7)

God’s message from the beginning is that we should love one another.  Cain killed his brother because Cain gave in to the character of the devil, rather than to the character of YHVH God.  When God did not accept Cain and his offering, but did accept Abel and his offering, Cain did not ask the LORD what he could offer in order to please God.  Instead, he was very angry, and in envy killed his righteous brother.

It was “religious envy”:  I want to be “okay” with God just like those whom God does accept on His terms.  I want to be accepted on my terms, and I hate my brother who is innocent of wrongdoing in the matter of being loved and accepted by God.  There can be this religious envy within the household of faith also!  Brothers and sisters, we need to be careful not to give place to the enemy, but rather to be filled with the Holy Spirit to keep us from sin.  We want to demonstrate that we are genuinely sons of God, and not of the devil.

Do we see that we are challenged today perhaps even more than Noah?

Thank God for the blood of the cross that Jesus shed for the New Covenant!: God forgives us and cleanses us from all our sin, unrighteousness, uncleanness. When God’s seed is in us – and we abide in our faith in Jesus until the end – our hope and desire is to become like Him, conformed to His image, who is pure. Everyone with the blessed hope of His coming purifies himself; the Bride sanctifies herself. Only in the resurrection will the sons of God be manifested. (Rom 8:18-30) Then, the righteous Kingdom of God will come in fullness, and the Father’s will shall be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Come, Lord Jesus!

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