Isa. 64:6 π Jer. 12:5 π Mt. 7:2 π Mt. 13:30 π Mt. 13:41 π Mt. 13:41-42 π Mt. 24:13 π Lk. 21:16-17 π Jn. 4:24 π Jn. 6:29 π Jn. 13:34 π Jn. 15:5 π Jn. 15:12 π Rom. 4:3 π Rom. 8:17 π Rom. 16:17 π 1 Cor. 1:30-31 π 1 Cor. 5:11 π 1 Cor. 15:33 π 2 Cor. 11:14 π Eph. 2:1-2 π Eph. 2:6 π Eph. 3:10-11 π Eph. 5:11 π 2 Ths. 3:14 π 1 Tim. 6:5 π Tit. 3:2 π Heb. 3:3 π Heb. 3:10-11 π Heb. 3:18-4:1 π Heb. 4:3 π Heb. 4:10 π Heb. 4:10-11 π Jas. 4:11 π 1 Jn. 3:8; 2nd π 1 Jn. 3:8-12 π 1 Jn. 3:10; 2nd π Rev. 12:12
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. ( 1 Jn. 3:8-12; top )
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested...” ( 1 Jn. 3:8; top )
We have become so jaded in our reading of the Scriptures that we miss the obvious things it says. Whatever follows this statement is one of the very reasons for which Christ came to earth It is not an incidental footnote attached to the bottom of some addendum at the back of the book. It is one of the foundational reasons He came, lived and died among us. Let us not fail to recognize, then, the primary importance of the statement which follows.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” ( 1 Jn. 3:8; top )
This is war! The devil is very serious about completing his work because it means his survival. He has challenged God for His throne and if he loses his bid for ultimate power, he loses his life in the lake of fire! And God is equally interested in winning the war, not only because His throne and authority are being challenged, but also because His having children made after His likeness is also at issue. Were it possible for God, the source of life and goodness, to lose this war, evil and destruction would have no restrictions. There would be no justice, no righteousness - only evil. And if God were to somehow lose this war, all those who hope in His redemption would be lost and they and God Himself would be eternally condemned by Satan to the lake of fire. These are the issues upon which this war is being waged. It has almost nothing to do with whether you go to “church” or not.
The children of God, as they are affected by this war, are being called to truly being heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, suffering with Christ in the carrying out of this war so that the people of Christ can demonstrate to the angels the manifold wisdom of God. (see Rom. 8:17 ; Eph. 3:10-11; top ) The children of God have a specific role in all this and they must conform to the character of Christ. If they do not do so, they are not sons of the kingdom but rather sons of the devil.
“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” ( 1 Jn. 3:10; top )
As we have already seen, when it comes to recognizing the traits of the godly and the ungodly, we are most often hampered by our own ignorance of what the words found in the Bible really mean. And this is indeed another word that, through unfamiliarity, has come to mean almost nothing. Though we have discussed this to some degree, let us consider again just what righteousness is. Remember? Paul wrote, “For what does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” ( Rom. 4:3; top ) So, what is righteousness? To believe God and obey Him. It is that simple.
Jesus said it this way: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.? ( Jn. 6:29; top ) We, in our twentieth century, reason- and logic-induced mental fog take that to mean that we are supposed to have the mental opinion that Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh, came as a man and died on the cross to take away our sins and that mere mental assent to this truth is all that is required of us.
The writer of Hebrews displays it much differently than this. He writes, “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For we who have believed do enter that rest... For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.? ( Heb. 3:18-4:1 , 3 , 10-11; top )
The rest of God is an important thing for all believers to grasp. The Sabbath rest was a type, a foreshadowing, a physical explanation and representation of a spiritual truth, of how we, as believers, are to live our entire life. Notice how it says that he who has believed has ceased from his own works. ( Heb. 4:10 ) If we truly believe in Christ, we cease from all our self-generated efforts to be and live righteously. This is why Scripture says, “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and redemption - that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’” ( 1 Cor. 1:30-31 ) Our glorying, our boasting, our source of joy and confidence, is not to be found living according to our own abilities but in living according to His. All of our attempts to be righteous can only be as filthy rags, literally, used and soiled menstrual cloths. ( Isa. 64:6; top )
This abominable picture is how God views our every independent attempt to please or serve Him - that is, every attempt outside of Christ to please God. It is our way of spitting in His face and telling God, “I don’t need Christ’s sacrifice - I can make it my way!” No! Apart from Christ we can do nothing. ( Jn. 15:5 ) Only in Christ are we seated in the heavenly realms, partaking of His divine nature. ( Eph. 2:6; top ) The difference between the sons of God and the sons of the devil is as simple as whether we are in Christ or out on our own.
“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever...does not love his brother [is not of God].” ( 1 Jn. 3:10; top )
The call to love one another as Christ loved us is an integral part of the true life in Christ. ( Jn. 13:34 ; 15:12; top ) But because the people of Christ are so inundated with legalistic teachings which wrongly associate loving one another “as Christ loved us” (the new commandment from the Head of the body, Christ) with loving one another “as you love yourself” (the second greatest commandment in the outmoded Law), we really have no clue how to draw upon the grace of God (that power of His Spirit at work in us to conform us to our individual expression of the likeness of Christ) so that we may indeed truly and selflessly love our brother.
The catch will really come for us when, as lawlessness abounds, the tendency for most will be to become unloving. This is only natural. Wickedness produces many victims. As the needs go up, our hearts, especially as believers, are stirred and we want to minister to and meet all the needs. Those who rely on their own strengths are going to be overwhelmed. Those who rely on the grace of God, His power at work in them, will not be overwhelmed because, first, they only move to meet the needs for which God is supplying a remedy, and second, they are only vessels, channels for God’s grace, His power, at work in them for others. Any need for which God is not supplying a remedy and any person for whom God is not giving them the grace to minister to, is someone else’s opportunity, not theirs.
But we should indeed notice the viciousness with which we shall be attacked so that we are not surprised at how close the betrayal, even unto death, will come from. Jesus said, “You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.” ( Lk. 21:16-17 ) Betrayal and hatred is going to come from very close quarters indeed. But our responsibility to remain settled in Christ and to continue to display His love for fallen humanity still remains. Jesus also said, in direct answer to lawlessness causing the love of many to grow cold, that “he who endures to the end shall be saved.” ( Mt. 24:13; top )
The difference between the children of God and the children of the devil will be clearly demonstrated in the end of the age. Those who endure and continue to love their brothers and sisters, even when they are betrayed and hated by their families and close friends, will be the children of God. Those who succumb to the numbing effects of lawlessness will most likely end up participating in the killing and hating of the genuine children of God. It is imperative that we learn how to move in the grace, the transforming power, of God now while the stakes are not nearly so high. For if we cannot even keep up with the foot soldiers, what are we going to do when they bring in the tanks and helicopters? (see Jer. 12:5; top )
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” ( Eph. 5:11; top )
There are those who will be opposed to a study like this either because they have religious notions or practices of their own that have been called into question or because they mistakenly think that to speak clearly and truthfully is to violate the command to “speak evil of no one.” ( Tit. 3:2 ; Jas. 4:11 ) To speak plainly the truth about the true nature of the sons of God and the sons of the devil is not to speak evil of anyone - it is merely to recognize, in the light of God’s truth and reality, just who is who and what is what. You cannot practice anything that is a lie nor follow after anyone who teaches or practices a lie and hope to believe that you’re worshiping God in spirit and in truth. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” ( Jn. 4:24; top ) There is no second alternative given. We are not at liberty to start our own denomination where we can worship God according to the dictates of our soul or according to our own ideas of what is true. To do so is to fall away from the faith that was given once for all.
That the tares could slip in among the wheat is not a subject we like to think about. To think that we, ourselves, might also be just another tare, is even more unthinkable. But this is clearly what the Scriptures teach. The servants of Satan masquerade as “servants of righteousness.” Paul wrote, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” ( 2 Cor. 11:14 ) A false servant of righteousness would be one who gives the appearance of leading you toward righteousness when, in truth, he is leading you into unrighteousness. And it would be beneath the expertise of the father of lies to provide us with so shabby a deception that everyone and his brother could easily see through it. No, it will require the diligent, moment-by-moment surrender to the leading of the Spirit of God to avoid being deceived by what Satan has concocted to prevent the wheat, the true sons of the kingdom of God, from reaching maturity and being harvested to the benefit of the Master. Satan is not going to just roll over and play dead just because he knows he is near to being defeated. No, he will make extra effort to destroy the saints when he knows his time is short. ( Rev. 12:12; top )
Another description of the devil says that he is “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Paul wrote, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” ( Eph. 2:1-2; top ) Those who are disobedient to the Holy Spirit - the One who is only transmitting the commands of the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ - those disobedient to Him are only the tools of another spirit, the spirit of antichrist, the one who comes in the place of Christ to usurp His rightful authority. These who are disobedient to God - as a routine course of their lives - are the sons of the devil.
Some who recognize the lethal nature of the “church” and who recognize that tares are in positions of leadership, especially within the “church” system, still advocate that we have no right to abandon these tares, that we are not being called by the Lord to abandon either these false believers and leaders or their Satanic, deceptive “church” systems. These people equate exposing false “church” teachings and practices - but leaving the tares alone to their own devices and machinations while warning the unwary and untaught about them - they equate that with the uprooting that the angels will do. ( Mt. 13:41-42; top ) These people seem to think that ruining a false leader’s ability to deceive people is the equivalent of what the angels will do when they uproot the tare and take him out to be burned. No, exposing and avoiding the tares is our responsibility - handing him over to the destruction of fire is the responsibility of the angels. We who are true wheat, true sons of the kingdom of God, are under absolutely no obligation to remain in the presence, let alone under the authority of, a son of the devil. To believe or teach otherwise is simply another demonic scheme propagated upon the people of God to keep them in the chains of institutional deception and systematic unrighteousness.
Paul wrote to the Romans, “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” ( Rom. 16:17 - emphasis added) Paul wrote to Timothy about false teachers saying that they were men “who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” ( 1 Tim. 6:5 - emphasis added) Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person.” ( 1 Cor. 5:11 - emphasis added) Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.” ( 2 Ths. 3:14 - emphasis added) And again to the Corinthians, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” ( 1 Cor. 15:33 - emphasis added; top)
These passages alone are sufficient to show that we are under an obligation to get away from anyone who claims to be a believer and follower of Christ but yet is not - and that false claim is identified chiefly by their failure to depart from sin and/or deception.
The process of uprooting a tare is a process that can only be done by an angel. The tare will be removed from the kingdom of Christ and taken to a fire to be burned and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. The other references in the New Testament to this fire, wailing and gnashing of teeth certainly seem to indicate an eternal judgment though there are some who see it differently. But either way, it will be a most unpleasant experience for the tare. And it is simply not possible for any human being to deliver a tare to that fire.
There are those who don’t understand how there could be centuries of “church” traditions that are nothing but the schemes of the devil designed to inhibit the growth of the real sons of God. The answer is simple. God has permitted it to be so. Jesus said, “Let both [the wheat and the tares] grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” ( Mt. 13:30 - emphasis added; top) The tares have been allowed by God to continue unchecked. The spirit of antichrist has been at work in any who have been disobedient to the living Word of Christ. This is why the traditions of men have been able to accumulate and set the stage for the great falling away which will characterize the end of the age.
But while it is neither possible nor permissible for us to uproot tares, let us also note that we must be very careful not to simply abandon everyone who holds different opinions than ourselves. That would be the sin of contentiousness and divisiveness - an action and attitude which would characterize us as being tares ourselves. We must be careful that, if we must make a judgment about someone, that judgment is accurate. For it is still true that “with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” ( Mt. 7:2; top ) If we truly use the word of God as it is enlivened to us by the Spirit of God to measure rightly, first ourselves then all others, then we will have no problem being measured by that same standard for we will have already subjected ourselves to God’s righteous standards. But if we judge on the basis of our own desires, opinions or imaginations, then, when we stand to be evaluated, we will be counted among the tares because we will have wrongly divided the body of Christ and failed to repent of our own sins.
Those who live in the days just before the angels are dispatched to separate, uproot and destroy the tares face a serious challenge. We must forsake all iniquity - all things that offend and all who practice lawlessness will be removed from Christ’s kingdom. ( Mt. 13:41; top ) We must give up all the traditions of men and all the deceptive schemes and systems of the devil that war against God and we must give up all notions of walking in our own ideas of what is right and wrong (lawlessness - what is right in our own eyes) or we too will be removed from the kingdom of Christ as a tare.
It is really that simple.
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