7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:7-8)
Jesus Christ came to Earth in order in order to deliver elect sinners from the penalty, power and eventually the presence of sin. Jesus Christ also came to earth in order to destroy the works of the devil.
As one commentator to today’s text observes, “If sin is personal enemy #1, then Satan is public enemy #1. The flesh is our internal foe and the devil is our external foe.”
Believers in Christ fight a battle each day in order to be obedient to the Lord and to not be deceived by the world, their own sinful flesh and the devil. It can be exhausting to not stray from the truth of God’s Word and therefore wander, but this is our mission. The words of Psalm 1 come immediately to mind.
1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Apostle John continued his argument that those who practice righteousness before God and man are those who have been born of God. Those who are righteous within their souls before God, by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, will be righteous in their lives before men.
By the same logical argument, those who make a practice of sinning belong by nature and behavior to the devil. Why? Because the evil one has been a sinner and sinning since the beginning.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Only righteousness springs from a righteous nature. By contrast, He who does what is sinful is of the devil. It would be wrong to water this assertion down. All sin, of whatever kind or degree, is satanic in nature. This is because the devil has been sinning from the beginning (cf. John 8:44). Sin originated with Satan and is his constant practice. To take part in sin at all is to take part in his activity. It is also opposing the work of the Son of God who came (appeared; cf. 1 John 3:5; Heb. 9:28a) to put an end (lysē, destroy) to that activity. Even the smallest sin runs counter to the work of Christ. Believers are to overcome “the evil one” (1 John 2:13–14), here called “the devil,” and not to participate in what he is.”
Lest there be any doubt, John states clearly and unequivocally that the reason Jesus came was to destroy the works of the devil. In other words, to bring to an end disobedient rebellion. This is not only to occur within the fallen world by God’s judgement (Revelation 19) but also within the believer’s soul by sanctification in and through the Word of God (John 17:17).
What works of disobedient rebellion is God brining to an end in your own soul? What battlegrounds still continue to be waged in spiritual warfare? Resolve to be the blessed person depicted in Psalm 1.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!