We are reading the letters of John. They are rather challenging because he writes in a different way to Paul and Peter. It some ways he is simpler, making sure his readers grasp the basics of living for Jesus and for the Father. As we meditate carefully on his points John, “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20), he reveals to us the basic things our Lord looks to see developing in our lives. He says, “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God” (3:9,10).
John sometimes uses the word ‘devil’ which only occurs in the New Testament and seems odd until we remember Jesus said, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil” (John 6:70). This word describes minds that have become anti-God, although they, like Judas, are blind to this.
John makes the statement, “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother” (verse 10). He goes on, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death” (verse 14). John portrays our lives as having two basic options, the way of love or the way of (to) death, we “abide’ in one or the other. Jesus called this the narrow and the broad way, and most choose the broad – and easier – way. Verse 15 is challenging, “Everyone who hates his brother (or sister) is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him”. Attitudes, sooner or later, are made evident by actions. the increasing chaos in our world illustrates this.
What ‘abides’ in us, in our hearts, dictates our eternal destiny. Is “eternal life” abiding in us? Soon we will be reading Revelation and one of the hidden ‘sevens’ within it is the phrase, “the book of life” – the names of the followers of Jesus are already in that book! But they can be blotted out (see Revelation 3:5).
Finally, note the simple and straightforward words of John calling us ‘little children’ – for that is what we are in God’s sight, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him” (verse 18). Does your heart need reassuring? Do you only “talk” about the truth of God’s word? Let us make sure “it is evident” that we “are the children of God”.
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