Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.
John is saying here that we need a reality check—regularly.
Do we say we are children of God? Show it!
Are we saying what is right but doing what is wrong? Are we talking about love but acting out in anger and bitterness?
Sadly, what we do is the reality, not what we say.
What is the proof that we are children of God? It is this: Do we act in love toward our brothers and sisters? Ouch. I admit there are a few people I don’t think much of, not to mention loving them. This text can even make me question whether I am truly God’s child.
So in the face of this question, I must cry out for grace: “No, Lord, I do not always do what is right, nor do I always love my brother or sister. Please forgive me. Give me Christ’s righteousness and love.”
And this is what John is writing about. Earlier in this letter he says: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
O God, forgive my sins and my unloving actions. I cry out for your mercy. I count on your forgiveness through Jesus, my Righteous Advocate, who is at your side. In his name, Amen.
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