Amidst all of the confusion and noise that this world has, you might be surprised to realize how simple some things really are. Take for instance, the world’s population is close to eight billion now. Yet, all of those people can be classified into one of two categories. The first category is a child of God. The second category is a child of the devil.
The Bible is clear on what is required to be a child of God. Either a person is innocent, and therefore unaccountable, or a person obeys the Gospel to become a Christian. Both situations can be seen through the life of Paul. When Paul was young, and had not reached an age of accountability, he was “…alive without the law once” (Rom. 7:9). That condition did not last his entire life though. Instead, as he grew and matured, Paul became accountable in the sight of God. As he put it, “…but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died…For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me” (Rom. 7:9, 11). Once Paul sinned, he needed to be saved. Through God’s grace and mercy, Jesus died so that Paul, and all other sinners, could become children of God (Heb. 2:9). This process takes place by obeying the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16). According to Acts 9, 22, and 26, that is exactly what Paul did. He became a Christian, and as such, became a child of God. John wrote, “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” (1 John 3:1-2). To remain a faithful child of God, the Christian must do righteousness. John also wrote, “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” (1 John 3:10). To “do righteousness” is simply to obey the commandments of God (Psm. 119:172; John 14:15). When the Christian stays faithful to God’s Word, he is blessed to continue as a child of God (1 John 1:7).
Now, what does the Bible say about being a child of the devil? As was just mentioned, a child of the devil is one that “doeth not righteousness” (1 John 3:10). An accountable person becomes a child of the devil by refusing to obey God’s Word. At some point, the accountable person will sin. That takes place by disobeying what God has commanded. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Likewise, “All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death” (1 John 5:17). An example of a child of the devil is Barjesus (also known as Elymas the sorcerer). On one occasion, Paul described Barjesus as a man “…full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness…” (Acts 13:10). All that it takes to be a child of the devil is to reject and refuse to obey the commandments of God. This is also seen in the lives of some other first century Jews. Jesus had many encounters with those that thought they were the children of God. Some even claimed such. After Jesus rebuked them, some Jews claimed “…we have one Father, even God” (John 8:41). In response to their declaration, “Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me” (John 8:42). Further, Jesus correctly identified those Jews by saying, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8:44-45).
There you have it. It really is that simple. Either a person is a child of God or a child of the devil. Which one are you? If you are not currently a child of God, then I strongly encourage you to obey the Gospel and remain faithful to God’s Word. Why? Because there is also another simple truth. Only children of God will go to Heaven, and only children of the devil will go to Hell (Matt. 25:14-46; Rev. 21:8).
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