“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him… 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…
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers… and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?.. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him… And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
“This is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us [and] we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 3:9-10,14a,16-17,24; 4:13; 5:14-15
John spells out many assurances and proofs of our status as God’s children: we increasingly become like Jesus and are therefore hated by the world; we abhor sin and ongoing conviction keeps us from continuing in it; we love one another in truth and deed; we have the Spirit and know His enlightenment, counsel, and comfort; we love God and His people; our prayers are effectual. How can these be true and evident? Because Jesus came as our propitiation to give us life! Because of Him God calls us His children and that is what we are! Now, for real, and forever! (John 14:16-20,26; 16:7-8,13; 1 John 3:1-3; 4:9-11)
And when we live as God’s children, bearing His name and mannerisms, people take notice. Our spiritual siblings are blessed and helped by our love. They see our engagement and trust our insights. They look to us for practical and prayer support, and we enjoy a mutual desire to be sanctified.
The world also sees a difference. Sometimes our proclivity to do things differently, use loftier language or choose different entertainment or lifestyle, stirs anger, resentment, or disdain, but in that we share the reproach of Christ and are most privileged. (Psalm 69:9; Matthew 5:10-12)
Do we know that we know Christ? That He came to earth in love to redeem us from sin and adopt and seal us as His children forever? That His Holy Spirit indwells us as a guarantee of our future inheritance with Him? If so, how does our daily living reflect our family resemblance? What areas of obedience have we neglected: generosity? hospitality? kindness? sacrificial service? If we are not experiencing pushback from the world, who should be observing genuine, robust love within the body of Christ, would we consider how accurately we’re displaying Christ’s love? (Ephesians 1:13-14)
“Never we know but in sleet and in snow / The place where the great fires are…” G.K. Chesterton. In the cold and bite, the spit and sting of the world, how and where are we making fires that reflect Jesus, stoking the warming flames of His love? How can we make Him irresistible to the needy, the lonely, the broken, the lost?
Lord Jesus, make yourself so evident in my life that others see and desire You, all because of and for Your glory.