TO CHEW ON: "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
A possible title for 1 John 3 would be: "Two Ways to Tell if Someone is a Christian." John talks about two litmus-test aspects of the Christian life in this chapter and they come together in verse 10:
"In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest:
1] whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God
2] nor is he who does not love his brother."
Practicing righteousness makes its appearance in various forms throughout the chapter. It involves purifying ourselves (1 John 3:3), avoiding sin, and living, instead, a life of habitual righteousness (1 John 3: 6-8, 10, 22).
Loving one's brother is just as prominent. John presents it as an ancient requirement going back to Cain and Abel (1 John 3:11-12). He describes the person who does not love his brother as someone who "abides in death" (1 John 3:14), and the person who hates his brother as a "murderer" (1 John 3:15). That brotherly love is practical evidencing itself in a compassionate response to our brother's need (1 John 3:17-18). Our right living in this gives us confidence before God and assures us that He will answer our prayers (1 John 3:22).
I ask myself, if people looked at my life and judged it by these two criteria, would they say I was a Christian? What about you?
PRAYER: Dear God, Your standards are easy to understand but hard to live. I ask for Your help, especially with loving my brothers and sisters. Please help me to see fellow Christians—indeed all people—through Your eyes. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.