A common phrase, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” relates to today’s reflection. Family traits are an entertaining phenomenon observed throughout time. John shares with his readers that it is also a reality in the spiritual family. When one is born into the family of God, it shows. In 1 John 3:10-15, he reminds his readers of the things they already know and then relates the difference between the children of God and those of the devil.
What they Already Know
“You have heard it from the beginning,” he writes, “we should love one another.” Jesus not only taught it, but demonstrated the principle by his life and his death. Another thing they knew was that when they put their trust in Jesus, he delivered them from death to life. Along with it came a deep love for one another.
Children of God
To practice righteousness is one trait of the child of God. Another is the love they have for one another. John refers to the story of Cain and Abel. It is a story of jealousy. God spoke to Cain but he wasn’t listening. Readers familiar with Jesus’ teachings know that murder was a matter of the heart and mind, not only the act of killing someone. Jesus further taught his listeners to love those who misused them. Why? So they could be sons and daughters of the Father. John writes, “Do not marvel if the world hates you.” Our responses indicate which family we are in.
Children of the Devil
John continues. The child of the devil does not practice right living nor do they love their brother. Their works, the things they do are evil. John writes, “They abide in death.” Hating one’s brother shows one as a murderer. It sounds harsh but it is a matter of the life force within us, be it the eternal life brought to us through the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, or the death we were born into as infants. John further comments that they know no murderer has eternal life living in them.
John reminds his readers of the things they already know and then relates the difference between the children of God and those of the devil. We are right to feel this is impossible. But with God all things are possible. As His children we grow more and more to look like Him!