Here is something many of us have discovered: throughout our twenties and early thirties, we one day wake up to discover, “I’ve become my father/mother!” The message of 1 John 2:28-3:24 is this: God’s children look like their Father. This section begins with a big picture reminder of Jesus’ return as motivation to welcome him with confidence as children rather than being among those who shrink in shame because of our faithlessness. In the end, all people will receive Jesus in one of these two ways. We are children of God or we are children of the devil.
By the gracious love of God, we’ve become children of God. Imagine that! The God who spoke creation into existence, who breathed life into Adam’s lungs, whose holiness is so great no one can even look at God’s face and live… this God has loved us and made us his children. And yet, how often do we read bumper stickers that say “Smile, God loves you” and dismiss it as some cheesy and cliché statement.
1 John ultimately says this: children of God live like their Heavenly Father, and children of the devil live like their father too. Once again, we become like our father. Cain is lifted up as the example, a warning against lawlessness. Instead, we are called to righteousness and to living as obedient children.
As children of God, we must embrace God’s heart of love for the world. We know what love is because of the cross. In the same way, God’s children must be people who live a life of love rather than people who merely talk about it.
Resist the temptation to allow busy schedules or other commitments keep you from loving your neighbor. Be generous with your time, abilities, and resources in order to express God’s love to those in need.
As we continue our journey through 1 John, treasure the amazing truth that you have been called and adopted as a beloved child of God. This is the foundation of our identity, and the greatest truth in the world. If we are children of God, and if we continually identify ourselves as his children, that will radically shape the way we live in all spheres of life.