This statement just stood out to me when I read it and I believe John wants us to understand what happens in our heart when we belong to Jesus. If we are living by the Spirit and learning from God’s word we will be focused on Him and our actions will change to resemble His. He did not sin because He did nothing without the Father telling Him and we can do the same when we remain in Him. We can’t believe the deceiving statement “we’re just sinners saved by grace” we must believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again to take our sins. When we open our hearts and believe this we look to Him to get us through and the Spirit leads us to right living.
Verse 7 says, “Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous.” We are called to be like Him and by being like Him we are called to make disciples. Well we can’t make disciples if we don’t continue to live in Him. I am reading a great book by Mike Breen called “Building a Discipling Culture” and he shares the Greek word for disciple: Mathetes. Directly translated, it means learner. He states, “Scripture really seems to be getting at something here, something about orienting our lives around becoming lifelong learners of Jesus. It is liberating to think that, with God’s Spirit, over time, we can learn the ways of Jesus, doing the things that He did while becoming the same type of person. It doesn’t happen overnight, and the expectation of Scripture isn’t that it happens overnight.” What a way to think and we know we are lifetime learners and our change is because of Him.
Jesus challenges us to live differently in Matthew chapter 16 verses 24-25, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try and hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” As we get back to 1 John chapter 3 let’s look at verses 8-9 we can see how Jesus can change our lives. “But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God.” Can’t you see what happens to us when we take the time to be learners or disciples, it opens us up to live out Christ-like behaviors and people see light in us.
We are new creations in Christ when we accept Him and are baptized so we must believe it and live with the goal of making disciples that are willing to shine for Christ. I want to finish with verse 10 which says, “So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.” Amen