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Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:1-10

1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Reflections: Throughout this book we have learned that God is the source and author of life. We have learned that He is love and that love is at the very core of who He is. As we start reading the third chapter we come face to face with what might be the most profound words in all of scripture… “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” 1 John 3:1God no only loved us, he has “given us” love. He has given us His very self. John is not talking here about the giving of a gift, a kind work, or a bit of time. John is describing the ultimate act of love, the very giving of ones self. The result of this is staggering. The God of the universe bestowed on us the gift of Himself, through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. He did this in order that we might be come His children. Elsewhere in scripture we are described as adopted by God and heirs to His Kingdom (Ephesians 1:5, Galatians 4:5).

The second verse of this chapter indicates that as God’s children we receive an ongoing benefit, that of continual transformation. John writes, “and what we will be has not yet appeared, but when He appears we will be like Him.” From the beginning of time humanity has longed to be like God. In Genesis 3, Satan’s first temptation to man was the false promise that if Adam sinned he would be “like God.”  From Adam until today men and woman have attempted to be like God. We try to control and rule our own lives outside of the plan God has for us. All of our pursuits, other than the pursuit of God, fail to help us live the life we are designed to live. When we choose to live any other way than that which God intended, we set ourselves up in opposition to God and do not experience life to the fullest. John is explaining that the only way to be “like God” is to live according to His plan, to abide in Him, to become a child of God.

The remainder of today’s section of scripture discusses how we ought to respond to the incredible act of love that God did by allowing us to become His children and to be transformed into His likeness. John writes that if we are truly children of the God of the universe, we will recognize that His plan is best and we will respond accordingly. A child of God is free from the power of sin in their lives and will choose to “practice righteousness.” This means that we will choose to live, act and behave in a way that is on right standing before God. We will choose to obey and follow the teachings of God. We do this not out of obligation, guilt or pressure. We do this out of reciprocating love to the One who has given us life. This does not mean we will never sin, rather that our focus and direction is one that chooses the way of God over everything else.

My NEXT Step: Meditate on the following questions and write down what ever comes to mind in a journal. “What in my life prevents me from focusing fully on God?”

 Questions to Catalyze Growth:

  • Are you a child of God?  How do you know?
  • What are the characteristics of a child of God, according to today’s passage?
  • What role does “abiding” play in the life of a child of God?
  • The word “practice” shows up 5 times in these 10 verses.  Why do you think John emphasizes this word so much?