Children of the Devil
Children of the Devil
By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. I Jn 3:10 ESV
If you were asked, “Who are the children of the devil?” what would your response be? John’s writing here is sobering. In the previous few verses he has written about people who claim to be the children of God, but go on practicing sinful behavior. John says those who do so are showing themselves NOT to be the children of God. And right in there “among them” is the one who does not love his brother.
Sometimes pride in our “righteousness” justifies in our minds the disregard for and malice toward our brethren - and too often, separation from them. There is a pervasive mindset among too many Christians that love and truth are opposed to one another, and therefore we must find the right “balance” – don’t veer too far to the love side, lest we be too soft; and don’t be overly dogmatic on the truth side, lest we be too hard. This conception is a tool of the devil! There is no greater doctrinal truth – and none more piercing, none more destructive of selfish pride - than the DOCTRINE of the love of God and of the love of brethren (Mt 22:37-40; Jn 13:35; I Jn 2:8-10).
One problem we have is in our misunderstanding of what “love” means. The pervasive regard by the world of love as simply a sweet disposition, being a jolly old soul or a romantic spirit, belies the depth of the Bible usage. Love is compassionate and kind and gentle, forbearing and forgiving. But it is founded squarely on the rock of truth in Jesus Christ. It will not compromise to rejoice in unrighteousness, but it WILL readily sacrifice its own desires and will for the sake of others’ growth in righteousness. Any love short of this type of holy love is not worthy of the Bible term. It is because the love of God is holy that we can be sure of it. He will not waver in it because of pity or favor – because of pressure or poor judgment. He will hold to it because his character is holy. He speaks the truth – and acts the truth about sin – while at the same time demonstrating his own love toward us.
And so John teaches us that we must love our brother with a sacrificial love. He says, “This is how we know love - because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I Jn 3:16. Connect this with v. 10 quoted above. One can only conclude that if we don’t love our brethren with our very lives, we are taking after our father the devil! If God declares that we should die for the brethren, is it not remarkable that for the sake of our brethren, we will not be inconvenienced, we will not go out of our way, we will not be brought to tears, we will not get dirty, we will not wear ourselves out, and we will not be financially or emotionally hurt? God help us to love our brethren enough to speak truth to them, but also to speak it in humility and compassion, giving time and toil, tears and sweat, even flesh and blood, for the glory of God.