“But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practise of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God”
(1 John 3:8-10, NLT).
The Apostle John goes on to make it very clear that the devil is the mastermind of this problem of sin. Just as love and obedience are evidences that a person belongs to Jesus Christ, so habitual sinning and hating are evidences of the devil’s involvement.
When you think of the devil or Satan, what comes to your mind? Many people think of a monster-type figure with a terrifying face, goat-like head, dressed in red, and carrying a pitchfork. Other people may think of a demon who floats in the air like a ghost and causes scary things to happen. Some may just believe whatever the movies depicted Satan to be. What do I think? I’m not sure. I don’t care much. But I’m very sure that Satan is able to “disguises himself as an angel of light” (1 Corinthians 11:14).
As we read the Scriptures, we know that Satan has existed for a very long time even before the earth were created (see Ezekiel 28). It was Satan who masqueraded as serpent and tempted Eve and Adam to disobey God. Satan “has been sinning since the beginning” and is the very essence of evil. And he seems to be very sly and cunning. Satan, no doubt, has great power and influences great numbers of people. He even has a temporary throne (see Revelations 2:13; 1 John 5:13). Many people are so influenced by Satan and his demons that they worship him as god of this world. They are totally under Satan’s control (see John 8:44; 2 Timothy 2:26).
You my friends – Don’t be afraid! We might think that Satan’s power is so great that he will rule the world forever. Don’t be afraid! The Scriptures make it clear that even though the devil is powerful, God is even stronger. In fact, Satan’s overthrow began with the coming of Jesus (read Matthew 12:25-29; Luke 10:18; John 12:31). “The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus took Satan’s power away to neutralize this terrible influence and replace it with the power of love, freedom, peace and forgiveness. But even though the devil has been knocked down, he still is alive and doing well in the lives of many people. He serves God’s purposes on earth. Soon God will finally destroy Satan totally when Christ returns to earth (read Revelations 20:10). Then Satan’s power will be gone forever. Even at this moment, anytime if Jesus would wish to snap His finger, Satan will be destroy!
Then John goes on to say that “those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practise of sinning, because God’s life is in them”. “God’s life” is also translated as “God’s seed.” I think John here is compares the Word of God to a seed which produces new life (read James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23). Just as beautiful plant must begin by being a seed which is fed and watered, so we as human beings grow spiritually as we study, understand, and obey what God wants us to do. God’s Word gives us strength and guidance to know about who God is what God wants us to do. If God’s Word in us “[we] can’t keep on sinning, because [we] are children of God.”
There are two basic tests to show what influence God is having in our lives: 1) the first is whether a person continues to sin deliberately, knowingly and habitually. This is different from the occasional sin (which you and I, all Christians will continue to do), and shows that sin is still dominant. The second test is more positive: 2) the children of God show that they belong to God by living righteously and loving other believers. According to John, then, we show who our spiritual father is – God or the devil – by the way we behave. It’s not our words but our actions that make the difference. Talk can be cheap; actions are more costly. And the actions of the Christians are to be summed up in one word: LOVE, agape.
What can you do to change your attitudes, behaviors, and so on,
so that you can look forward eagerly for Christ to return?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.