Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Children of God

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.  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. (1 John 3:7-10)

So here we have a scripture that talks of children of God and children of the devil.  I'm just going to point out some things.  First a question; is Satan going around getting women pregnant? (in some movies, this would be a yes...but do you really think this is what the author of this book is trying to convey?)  "Anyone who does not do what is right is not God's child"...that's a pretty scary statement.  Do you do what's right?  Always?  And what is 'doing what is right', anyway?...yikes, where is that rule list so I can make sure I always do what I'm supposed to so I can be God's child and He won't reject me?! 

I really think if we're not going to get swept away in that kind of thinking, we need to establish literal teaching vs metaphorical or figurative teaching.  I think we can safely say the devil is not fathering children, nor did he create people. (But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. 1 Corn. God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Eph. 4:6)  Therefore, this has to be more of a figurative type of teaching. So if I'm going to call you a child of the devil, what do I mean?  Maybe it means I think you resemble the devil. (like father and son resemble each other) In the same manner, when I say someone is not a child of God, I might simply mean they do not resemble God or the things of God.  If Jesus is the only one who can claim to perfectly resemble God so he can say he is the only true son of God, does that mean nobody else can claim God as their Father?  I don't think so.  We do not strive more and more to do the correct things so that God will love us like children, but we strive more and more to reflect the nature of God, so we resemble Him just like Jesus did. 

Now when I say you resemble the devil, does that mean you have a red suit and horns and a pitch fork?  The subject of the devil is a big one, and I don't think it's wise for me to dive into it here...but if your going to insist you know that the devil is a fallen angel, please get back to me with the verses you believe prove that.  Meanwhile, I think everyone can agree that whatever the devil is, he is in opposition to God.  So if I think you look like the devil, I'm definitely saying I believe you are against what God is for.  So when the author of this book (I don't think anyone knows for sure who that is) is trying to warn of people who resemble the devil in the way they oppose God, then in what way are they doing that?

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love...If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.  (1 John 4:7-8)

As well as not knowing for sure who the author of this book is, it's also unknown what exactly the problem was or what group of people had come in to cause the ruckus that the author is trying to address.  But because his solution is so clear and redundant: "love each other", it seems the problem must have been that there were teachers who were saying things against loving each other.  And it seems to me we still have teachers like that--teachers who stir up hate for a group of people who they think should not be loved.  And I would agree to please beware and don't listen to those people, because they do not know God.