Today, God lead me to 1 John 3:10 (KJV):
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.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the use of the word manifest, because it had also been used back in verse 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.” However, in that instance it refers to a different Greek word (phaneroo), which means essentially that Jesus came in the flesh (He actually existed in the natural), whereas in verse 10, manifest is the Greek word phaneros, which refers to something being made apparent.
So in other words, two things make it apparent whether we are children of God or of the devil. So next it’s important to note what the two things are that make it so apparent:
- whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God
- neither he that loveth not his brother
Let’s look at those one at a time. “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God” – when we remove the double negative essentially it’s saying if you do “righteousness” you are a child of God. Here are the traits someone who is righteous would display according to the meaning of the original Greek word (on a couple I’ve added the Merriam-Webster definitions of the words for further clarification):
- an unimpaired or unmarred condition : entire correspondence with an original condition: SOUNDNESS
- an uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic, or other values : utter sincerity, honesty, and candor : avoidance of deception, expediency, artificiality, or shallowness of any kind
- moral practice or action : conformity to a standard of right (as divine law or the highest good) : moral excellence : integrity of character : uprightness of conduct : RECTITUDE, MORALITY
- a particular moral excellence
- CHASTITY, PURITY
- purity of life
- the quality or state of being right (as in character or conduct) : moral rectitude : INTEGRITY
- factual correctness : ACCURACY, TRUTH
- the quality or state of being appropriate : FITNESS, SUITABILITY
- correctness of thinking, feeling, and acting
Wow! This is a tall order – it’s clear why the Word says we are to be “perfecting holiness” – that’s essentially what this is. If we as much as tell someone we like their haircut or new outfit when we in fact do not – we have fallen short (integrity includes being “utterly sincere”). How many of us live at that level? How many even try?
So let’s look at the second thing that identifies if we are a child of God’s or not: “neither he that loveth not his brother“. Again, taking out the double negative, we are called to love our “brothers“, which in this case means ANYBODY. So if they’re breathing we are to love them. The guy that cut us off in traffic – yep, called to love him. The woman who was rude in the checkout line – yep, called to love her too.
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
So consider this – if you are frustrated with someone at work and mumble that they are an idiot as you walk away – even if no one hears you but God – you are in the wrong and are proving in that instance that you are not God’s child! Ouch!
This calls us to live at a high level. This is not something where we can compare ourselves to others on to see if we are doing well – we need to work on perfecting holiness which means we can only compare ourselves to Jesus and continually work to be more and more like Him.
God, I ask for Your help today. I want to be counted as one of Your children. Help me to walk in righteousness and love – help us all to. Help us to relentlessly pursue holiness, eyes focused on You and no one else. Help us to desire to be like You and lose our taste for the world and the things of the world. I exalt You, God! You are an incredible Father. Thank You for loving us enough to make Your expectations for us clear in Your word and then for giving us the strength to walk them out when we ask. I love You. You are a GOOD God!