How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God?


As a child, I was often told by my mother not to embarrass her in public by acting in ways she had condemned. Trust me, I knew exactly what she was talking about. She consistently told us what not to do and what to do. It was lucid. Some of her famous words are “if you embarrass me, I am going to embarrass you. If it is in the store, you will get yours in the store…” NOTE: Someone would have called DFACS on her today, but I am better by it because I most often chose show over tell.

In many ways, children are a reflection of their parents. I plead the 5th on some things in my kids lives. As most of you have read, I have worked in varying capacities in schools over the past twenty plus years. When a student was acting up, I remember one administrator telling me “if you see a child acting a fool at school, 90% you will see a parent acting a fool at home.” In that case, the parent did come to school acting a fool. While that is not true in all situations, most children act like their parents in some way or another.

In relation to God, this should be true too. In fact, the Apostle John answered How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? based on that premise.

1 John 3

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil,because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. 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 them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 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 their brother and sister.

There it is right in the Word of God. There it is straight out of the bible. One’s actions reveal who one belongs. John says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” What is right? In this and every other context, the preeminent position on right is what God says in His Word. Today or in the past, it has not been popular to define what is right in the context of what God has declared. There are many who even deny God’s existence, so in their minds, the standard of right and wrong does not begin with God. Listen to what Romans 1 says about the matter of who determines right or wrong.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God has made plain general right and wrong to the most sophisticated and undeveloped society. Nevertheless, How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? John tells us by one’s behavior – “Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child” Clearly, John knows that there has been only one perfect one – Jesus. He is not talking about perfection. John is talking about an ever-increasing obedience to the Word of God. One who claims to follow Jesus cannot continue to sin with the same sin with the same frequency or intensity. Why? Because God’s seed remains in Him.

Just as earthly children take on attributes/characteristics of their earthly parents, those born again take on the attributes, specifically here righteousness, of their heavenly Father. John had already established the provision for one halting the practice of habitual sinning in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Paul tells us in Romans 8 that there are two mindsets: 1. set on the desires of the flesh; 2 set on the desires of the Spirit. Paul goes on to tell us “… if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness” Clearly the audience of this letter are ones who are identified as having Christ because they are called children of God. 

It is through that same Spirit of God that men and women are enabled to say not to ungodliness. It is through the Spirit working in their lives to obedience to Christ that is the distinguishing mark for the follower of Jesus. Furthermore, it is the Spirit manifesting the character/attributes of Christ in us that enables one to answer the question of How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? We know it by their behavior, their actions even their love for their brother and sister.

How are your actions? Do they align with God’s actions? Is your mind set on what God’s Spirit is set upon? Evaluate yourself to answer the question How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God?

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