“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10 NKJV).
It is nothing strange for anyone to feel, claim, profess or confess that he is a child of God. Every man in his right mind will definitely love to be called by God’s name.
If you have truly believed in your heart that Christ Jesus died for your sins and rose up for your justification, and have confessed with your mouth that Christ Jesus is your Lord and Saviour; you are saved and now belong to God notwithstanding your feelings.
The Scripture clearly states and assures in Romans 10:
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (NKJV).
Beyond our unstable feelings, mere profession or intellectual argument, the Scripture amply offers us a sure assurance of salvation and relationship with God.
35 “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NKJV).
1 John 5:
11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (NKJV).
If you are truly a child of God, the Spirit of God indwelling you will also bear witness with your spirit or heart that you are a child of God.
Paul testifies to this truth in Romans 8:
15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJV).
But, how can we recognize or distinguish God’s children from Satan’s children?
The Scripture clearly presents to us several distinctive traits or attributes to distinguish God’s children from the devil’s children (1 John 3:7-10).
Let us consider some of them.
First, God’s children differ from Satan’s children in their desires, inclinations, passions or dispositions toward sins.
Because Satan’s children (the unbelievers) are still dead in their sins and trespasses, they have natural or innate desires, inclinations or tendencies to sin.
Because they are still slaves of sin, they cannot but live in, commit or practice sins. Because of the blindness of their hearts, they mock at sins, regarding it as a pleasure or fun (Prov. 14:9, Eph. 4:17-19, 2 Cor. 4:4).
Having become dead to sin through the body of Jesus Christ, God’s children (the born-again believers) cannot relish, enjoy, wallow or rejoice in sins. The natural desire, inclination or disposition of the born-again believers is to love God and obey His Word (Rom. 7:22).
Paul aptly testifies to this truth in Romans 6:
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (NKJV).
John also attests to this truth in 1 John 3:
9 No one who has received the new Life from God lives sinfully, because the very nature of God dwells within him; and he cannot live in sin, because he has received the new Life from God. (TCNT).
1 John 5:
18 We know that no one who has received the new Life from God lives in sin. No, he who has received the new Life from God keeps the thought of God in his heart, and then the Evil One does not touch him. (TCNT).
Second, God’s children differ from Satan’s children in their lifestyles.
It is natural, normal or consistent with the divine nature of God received at the New Birth for God’s children to practice righteousness. Similarly, it is natural, normal and consistent with the nature of the devil in his children (the unbelievers) to practice unrighteousness or lawlessness.
1 John 3:
10 By this the Children of God are distinguished from the Children of the Devil–No one who lives unrighteously comes from God, and especially the man who does not love his Brother. (TCNT).
Third, God’s children differ from Satan’s children by the kind of love they possess and demonstrate.
The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s kind of love (agape – divine, pure, selfless, sacrificial, unconditional and unfailing love of God) into the hearts of the believers at the New Birth (Rom. 5:5). Therefore, every child of God has the capacity to demonstrate God’s selfless love.
On the contrary, Satan’s children are selfish by nature and thus are incapable of demonstrating the selfless love of God consistently.
1 John 4:
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (NKJV).
Lastly, God’s children differ from Satan’s children by the inward peace and joy of salvation they possess.
Having been justified by faith, the believers now have peace with God through Christ Jesus (Rom. 5:1). The believers have been delivered from the fearful expectation of the fierce judgement of God coming soon upon the ungodly.
The Holy Spirit bears witness with the born-again spirits of the believers that they are children of God and thus have escaped God’s judgement. Consequently, they evinced peace, joy and hope which are eternal and transcendental (Rom. 8:16).
On the contrary, Satan’s children (the unbelievers) are constantly living in fear and under the heaven burden of guilt of sins and condemnation of Satan.
The Scripture amply testifies to this truth.
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. (NKJV).
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.” (NKJV).
Friend, if judging by the standards of God’s Word and the witness of the Holy Spirit, you are not a child of God, or you are not absolutely convinced that you are a child of God, now is the right time to make the decision to be God’s child by believing in Christ Jesus and receiving, confessing and surrendering to Him as your personal Lord and Saviour.
Don’t procrastinate or postpone making this crucial decision. Do it now!
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I renounce and forsake the devil today as my father. I believe in Christ Jesus, and I receive, confess and surrender to Him today as my personal Lord and Saviour, in Jesus’ name. Amen.