One Or The Other
A daily devotion for May 18th
9No 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. 10This 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.
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 (1 John 3:10).
Someone has said that people may be divided into two classes, the righteous and the unrighteous, and the classifying is always done by the righteous! Certainly it is true that humanity is divided into two classes—not three, as we often fondly imagine. We would like to think there are the children of the devil, the children of God, and then a vast group in between who are morally neutral, neither devilish nor godly. But God says
No, there are not three classes.
Nor is there one class. There are many today who would have us believe that all people everywhere are, by virtue of their natural birth, children of God. But the Bible never sustains that idea for even a moment. These words of John are the echo of the words of the Lord Jesus Himself when He said to certain Pharisees of His day,
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire (John 8:44). This is what the phrase children of the devil means. It does not mean that the devil created them, but it means that they reflect the nature and characteristics of the devil.
All of this is in harmony with the scriptural view of humanity. People, the Bible says, are vessels. They do not have power in themselves, nor do they have life in themselves. They are made to contain life. They are made to hold someone, designed to contain and express the life of another. In the original intention of God, that life was to be the life of God Himself. People were made for God. Pascal said there is in every person a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill. We were made for God.
But because of humanity's fall in the garden, people today are no longer containing and expressing the life of God but are expressing the perverted, twisted life of the devil. Every one of us was born into the family of the devil. We were born children of the devil because we are part of the fallen race of Adam. The tendency and proclivity toward sin, that twisted perversion, is passed along to us from our forefathers, along with the color of our eyes and all other physical features. We are born with a bent toward evil. You need to live with only a few babies to see this demonstrated. How utterly self-centered babies are! In their thinking, everything exists for them. The whole world is there only to serve their particular need, and that, in essence, is the expression of the life of the devil.
It is only by new birth that we become children of God. This is why Jesus said to that cultured, honored, respected leader of his own day, Nicodemus, who came to him by night,
No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again (John 3:3) All your knowledge, your education, your morality, or your religion is of no value here. Unless you are born again, you are still part and parcel of the family and kingdom of Satan. The whole thrust of the gospel is always in this direction. It is to deliver people from the kingdom of Satan and to bring them into the kingdom of God.
Lord, grant that I may see my own life, see where I am heading, see the forces that are gripping me, mastering me, whether they are of God or of Satan.
Life Application: How piercing, stunning, and incredible is today's passage of Scripture that is presented to us! What is the whole thrust behind God's gospel message to the world?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.