RECOGNIZING GOD’S CHILDREN
“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 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 for your justification and have confessed with your mouth that Christ Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, you are saved, and you are now a child of God regardless of how you may feel.
Romans 10:8-10 – NKJV
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.
Beyond our unstable feelings, mere profession, or intellectual argument, the Scripture amply offers us a sure assurance of salvation and relationship with God.
John 3:35-36 – NKJV
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.”
1 John 5:11-13 – NKJV
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.
If you are indeed 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.
Romans 8:15-17 – NKJV
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.
But how can we recognize or distinguish God’s children from Satan’s children?
The Scripture 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 states this truth.
Romans 6:1-4 – NKJV
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?
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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.
John also attests to this truth.
1 John 3:9 – TCNT
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.
1 John 5:18 – TCNT
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.
Second, God’s children differ from Satan’s children in their lifestyles.
It is natural, regular, 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 devil’s nature in his children (the unbelievers) to practice unrighteousness or lawlessness.
1 John 3:10 – TCNT
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.
Third, God’s children differ from Satan’s children by the kind of love they possess and demonstrate.
God’s children are partakers of the loving nature of God. Every child of God can demonstrate and manifest God’s selfless and sacrificial love “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Rom. 5:5 NKJV.
On the contrary, Satan’s children are selfish by nature and thus are incapable of demonstrating the selfless love of God consistently.
1 John 4:7-8 – NKJV
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.
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 severe judgment of God coming 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 judgment. Consequently, they evinced peace, joy, and hope (Rom. 8:16).
On the contrary, Satan’s children (the unbelievers) constantly live in fear and under the heavy burden of guilt of sins and condemnation of Satan.
The Scripture amply testifies to this truth.
Proverbs 28:1 – NKJV
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.
Isaiah 48:22 – NKJV
22 “There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked.”
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 convinced that you are a child of God, now is the right time to decide to be God’s child by believing in Christ Jesus, confessing 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 confess and surrender to Him today as my personal Lord and Saviour, in Jesus’ name. Amen.