A CLEAR DISTINCTION
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are. Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister (1 John 3: 8b-10).
John makes a very powerful statement here: No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God. To what does this “seed” refer?
It’s amazing how many things begin with a seed. Take the natural world for example. God placed the blueprint of every plant and animal in its seed. There is a power pack of information inside every seed, from the biggest to the smallest and, given the right conditions, the seed will grow and become a replica of its parent.
God also has a “seed”. Jesus told a parable about a farmer who sowed seed in his field. In Luke’s version of the story, Jesus identified the seed as “the word of God.” Peter remembered and wrote in his letter:
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God (1 Pet. 1:23).
God’s Word has in it the DNA of everything that God is and, when it is sown into the heart of a human being, in the soil of faith and obedience, it grows and begins to reproduce the nature of God in the recipient. It is impossible for a seed to reproduce anything other than what its DNA contains. A bear, for instance, cannot reproduce lion cubs. In the same way, a person who has received the seed of God’s Word by faith cannot go on reproducing the fruit of Satan’s occupation in his life.
Being “born again” implies that he has begun a new life from a different Father. In this case, however, although he has a new nature, he still has the power to choose and he can choose to follow the old nature which is still in him. But the new nature in him, the nature of God draws him towards doing what is right according to the DNA of God which is in His Word.
John concludes that it is impossible for those who are born of God to continue to rebel against God by doing what is contrary to the nature of God as a way of life, just as it is impossible for a lion, for example, to eat plants and to hibernate in the winter like a bear. This way of life has not been written into its DNA.
This has huge implications for those who claim to be children of God and yet still live like the children of the devil. It isn’t what they say that reveals who their father is, but what they do. Of course, this does not mean that the devil gave them natural birth. Satan has no power to create. He only has the power to deceive. Every person born into the world carried the spiritual DNA of the evil one since Eve was deceived into believing Satan’s lie that he, not God is in charge. Adam was not deceived. He disobeyed God because he had received God’s instruction which he chose to ignore.
The first pair changed allegiance and took on a new nature – the nature of disobedience. Through the work of Jesus on the cross – His perfect obedience to the Father through His life and death – He undid the work of Satan. He revealed that He is Lord which the Father confirmed by exalting Him to the highest place and giving Him the title of Lord. He destroyed the devil’s work and gave those who believe in Him the right to be called children of God. God’s DNA was restored to those who believe in Him, enabling them by the power of His Spirit, to reflect God’s nature in the way they live.
There is a clear distinction, then, between the children of God and the children of the devil. Those who belong to God have the nature of God and do the works of God, not perfectly but purposefully because God’s Word is in them. What are the works of God? The way we treat other people – with love, mercy and generosity – shows those around us whose seed is in us.
Malachi describes this distinction in the beautiful words of his prophecy 400 years before Jesus came to earth.
Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured His name. ‘On the day when I act,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Mal. 3: 16-18).
God’s DNA is in us. Let us show the world who our Father is, by the way, we reflect Him in our lives.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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