BOOK: Who We Are In Christ
Chapter 8: Children of God

8    Children of God

The Apostle John wrote literally an expose' of who we are in Christ Jesus in 1 John.  John starts out dealing with what is necessary to be transformed from a sinner into a child of God.  After that, John always shows a clear and precise difference between the two groups, in who they are and in what they do.

                I John     1:6-10
                If we say that we have fellowship with him, and
                walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
                But if we walk in the light, as he is in the               
                light, we have fellowship one with another, and
                the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us
                from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we
                deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
                If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just
                to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from
                all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not
                sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not
                in us.

All of the above begins with a sinner who is not saved.  He must recognize that he is a sinner, confess his sin, and walk in fellowship with the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ.             
                Romans     3:23                
                For all have sinned, and come short of the
                glory of God;

We all are born into sin, and lived in sin at the beginning of our earthly lives.  We all came short of, and would continue to come short of the glory of God.  That is, we could not meet the penalty for sin in the High Court of Heaven, but God met it for us, which is His Glory in His plan of the ages.             
                I John     2:1 
                My little children, these things write I unto
                you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we
                have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
                the righteous:

John moves on past the point of dealing with initial confession of sin, to the point of now being a born-again believer.  If you now stumble into sin, you have an advocate.  The Greek word translated advocate is parakletos, which means helper or counselor.  This term was used in the Greek language for defending lawyers in courts of law.  We who are born-again have a defending counselor in the High Court of Heaven,  Jesus Christ the Righteous.  But the ungodly sinner has only the promise of eternal judgment.
                I John     2:12
                I write unto you, little children, because your
                sins are forgiven you for his name's sake.

John calls us little children, because we are the children of God, and of His household.  From 1 John 2:1 forward, John always shows a clear difference between the two audiences he addresses, the sinners and the saints.             
                I John     3:1-2 
                Behold, what manner of love the Father hath
                bestowed upon us, that we should be called the
                sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us
                not, because it knew him not.
                Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it
                doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we
                know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
                like him; for we shall see him as he is.

We are now the sons of God, thru the Spirit of Adoption crying Abba, Father in our hearts.  We are born-again spiritually, which is the unseen.  But our natural bodies yet wait the regeneration of eternal life in the physical realm, which will be seen.
                I John     3:6 
                Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever
                sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Here John continues his clear distinction from 2:1 forward of these two groups.  You are either saved or not.  You either are holy and do not sin, and have fellowship with the Father, or you commit sin and don't know the Father.
                I John     3:7 
                Little children, let no man deceive you: he
                that doeth righteousness is righteous, even
                as he is righteous.
If we do the righteous acts of God, which He has called us to1, we are truly righteous.  Chief among these are to believe on the Lord Jesus as Saviour2.  This is a work in that you must do something.  Remember faith is active, that is, it requires an action.  You are saved by grace thru faith.  The faith work which you did was to believe in your heart and confess with your mouth.  So you see there is a righteous work mixed with your faith even in being born-again.
                I John     3:10
                In this the children of God are manifest, and
                the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not
                righteousness is not of God, neither he that
                loveth not his brother.

We are now the children of God.  We are manifest or known to the world by our love.  Jesus said the world would know us by our love.  This is a righteous act.  An act which God has instructed you to do is a righteous act.  It is right with Him and with His eternal law.
                I John     3:14-18
                We know that we have passed from death unto
                life, because we love the brethren. He that
                loveth not his brother abideth in death.
                Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer:
                and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life
                abiding in him.  Hereby perceive we the love of
                God, because he laid down his life for us: and
                we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
                But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his
                brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels
                of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of
                God in him?  My little children, let us not love
                in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

We are talking about who we are in Christ.  This includes being encouraged to walk like Him, whose divine nature we are partakers of.  John 3:16 says "God so loved that He gave...".  We are encouraged to show our love by giving, by meeting needs.  Jesus came to meet needs.  He is a need meeting God.  If you did not believe that, you would not pray to Him about your needs.  God wants us to be like Him, in showing His agape love, by meeting needs.  He meets our needs, including physical needs, and He expects us to meet the physical needs of others also3.

                I John     4:7-8 
                Beloved, let us love one another: for love is
                of God; and every one that loveth is born of
                God, and knoweth God.  He that loveth not knoweth
                not God; for God is love.

John just told us not to love in word or tongue, but in deeds and truth.  Your deeds will show what you really believe.  I heard someone say "You do what you believe, and the rest is religious talk."  Who we are in Christ Jesus are need meeting servants and sons of the Living God!
                I John     3:24
                And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth
                in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that
                he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath
                given us.
                I John     4:13
                Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in
                us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
                Romans     8:14-16
                For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they
                are the sons of God.  For ye have not received
                the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have
                received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry,
                Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness
                with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

John continues emphasizing that we are the children of God, and separate and distinct from sinners in the world.  This being witnessed on the outside by the manifestation of the love of God thru us, and on the inside by the witness of the Holy Spirit.
                I John     5:10
                He that believeth on the Son of God hath the
                witness in himself:  he that believeth not God
                hath made him a liar; because he believeth not
                the record that God gave of his Son.

God prophesied that He would dwell in us, by taking away the stony heart, which is lifeless and dead, and give us a new heart of flesh, which is alive and in fellowship with His Holy Spirit.

                Ezekiel   36:25-27
                Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and
                ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness,
                and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
                A new heart also will I give you, and a new
                spirit will I put within you: and I will take
                away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I
                will give you an heart of flesh.
                And I will put my spirit within you, and cause
                you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep
                my judgments, and do them.

                Romans     2:29
                But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and
                circumcision is that of the heart, in the
                spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is
                not of men, but of God.

John emphasizes that as Jesus is now, holy and righteous, so are we in God's eyes. 
                I John     4:17
                Herein is our love made perfect, that we may
                have boldness in the day of judgment: because
                as he is, so are we in this world.

We can have boldness in the day of judgment, because we can stand before God with all our sins washed away and removed as far as the east is from the west, God having no more remembrance of them.  Praise God forevermore!  Hallelujah!
                I John     5:2-4
                By this we know that we love the children of
                God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
                For this is the love of God, that we keep his
                commandments: and his commandments are not
                grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God
                overcometh the world: and this is the victory
                that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Again, we now are the children of God because we keep His commandments.  We have been given His power and authority to overcome sin.  There lies no more excuse to turn back and be trapped again by sin.  Jesus said if you loved Him you would keep His commandments4.
                I John     5:14-15
                And this is the confidence that we have in him,
                that, if we ask any thing according to his will,
                he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us,
                whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the
                petitions that we desired of him.

                I John     3:22
                And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him,
                because we keep his commandments, and do those
                things that are pleasing in his sight.

We know we are children of God, and are pleasing to Him if we live by faith5 and obey His commandments.  Mostly to show love and mercy6.
                Romans     8:17
                And if children, then heirs; heirs of God,
                and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we
                suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

John says we are joint heirs with Christ Jesus.  In the Jewish laws, an adopted son received a double portion inheritance with the first born.  So we, the adopted, receive an equal and joint inheritance with Jesus, the first born of many brethren.
                I John     5:18
                We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth
                not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth
                himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

We are born of God.  We must work our faith in God, in keeping ourselves unspotted by the world.  If we are born of God, and continue to abide in Him and with Him daily, then that wicked one will not be able to find a lust to draw us away with, and we will not sin.    
                I John     5:19-20
                And we know that we are of God, and the whole
                world lieth in wickedness.
                And we know that the Son of God is come, and
                hath given us an understanding, that we may
                know him that is true, and we are in him that
                is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is
                the true God, and eternal life.

John's whole point of writing was so we would know with confidence that we are born of God.             
                I John     5:13
                These things have I written unto you that
                believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye
                may know that ye have eternal life, and that
                ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

That we may know with confidence that we have eternal life.             
                I John     1:3 
                That which we have seen and heard declare we
                unto you, that ye also may have fellowship
                with us: and truly our fellowship is with the
                Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

That we might have fellowship with God.             

And that we might continue in that fellowship unto the end.             
                John      17:3 
                And this is life eternal, that they might know
                thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom
                thou hast sent.

Eternal life is to have an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Not to know of a person, far off and with no communication or interaction with, but to know God as a Father, who loves us and cares for us, because thru Christ Jesus, our elder brother, we are now children of God.

1. Eph 2:8-10
2. John 6:38-39
3. One point, Jesus never meet a physical need without also addressing a spiritual need
4. John 15:9-14
5. Hebrews 11:6
6. Matt 12:7