“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 a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother [ or sister].” (1 John 3:10 )
When I sit down to write these commentaries, I put as much thought into the title as I do into writing the actual text. My goal is to have the title reflect what I am going to say. Sometimes what the title should be is not clear until I have written the text, and other times the title is the easiest part. As the writer of I John said, the title should be how you know what is coming.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had titles somewhere on us. By just looking at a person you could tell what they were like, what role or roles they had in life, and from that you could tell how they would act. Even a few adjectives describing each person would be helpful. Or some sort of rating scale so you know where you stood with a person.
Unfortunately people do not come with titles, descriptive words, or even a posted rating system. Whenever you meet someone new you have to find out what they are like, child of God or child of the devil, or something in-between. And yes, most of us are in-between. Because not all of us do what is right all the time, and not all of us love our brother/sister. And because we are all human and fallible, we accept that of each other.
The writer of I John makes some pretty clear and decisive division of people; child of God and not child of God. Either you do as God says and love all of humanity, or you don’t. No gray areas, ambiguities or wishy-washy positions here. However, there are reasons the writer of I John is so strict; the times were different, and the number of people one knew and were aware was smaller than our global community. And Christians in the early church were under a different type of scrutiny then now.
But that is not to say that it excuses us as Christians to slack off the obeying God and loving everyone. God’s expectation of us is just as firm as in the writer of I John’s time; and God’s grace is just as forgiving when we fall short.
May you gentle reader, with God’s grace, mercy, determination, and compassion, live up to the name of Christian and child of God. Selah!