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Two Sets of Children

1 John 3:9-10
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 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 God's child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (NIVUK)

It is said that you can tell the character of the parents by watching their children. Whether or not that is always true, the children of God have been born into His family and He wants them to acquire His nature. They should be ashamed of their old sinful nature, be grateful for God's forgiveness and restoration, and delight in being able to love and serve the Lord.

Although it sounds sinister, the devil has children too. They believe his lies and carry out his purpose of defying God: they deny the divinity and work of Christ and so do not care that sin is highly offensive to their heavenly Father. They live lives that are not right according to God's Word, they persist in sin and they teach the 'normality' of sinfulness to others (Romans 1:32).

The problem is not just embedded in the world and sinful fleshliness; it is also embedded in Christless religion. Jesus spoke about the religious leaders, who refused to accept His authority, like this: "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are." (Matthew 23:15). They too are children of the devil: the children of God should not accept their spiritual authority.

The Apostle Paul said the same, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Although persecution is a terrible burden to bear, a greater danger to the church comes from false teachers. Beware. Do not be naïve, test every spiritual influence (1 John 4:1) and love the children of God – and do not be lured by the children of the devil.

Father God. Thank You for giving me new life in Christ Jesus, and welcoming me as Your child. Forgive me for the times when I allow the children of the devil to influence me, especially if they come with religious labels. Help me to love You with all my heart, and Your other children too; so that we will discern the truth, hold fast to Jesus, protect the church and advance the mission of the gospel where I live and work. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams