The Believer’s Incompatibility with Sin

As most of you know, we have been working our way through the book of 1 John when I preach. John continues to highlight key truths and doctrines of the faith throughout this book. In our previous message, John gave us some additional truth on how we can stand firm on the gospel by abiding in Jesus Christ because that is where our hope lies.

In today’s message John is going to help us see how Christians and sin are incompatible as we focus on 1 John 3:4-10 where John says…

1 John 3 - "4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."

If we look back into church history, we can see that the true church has always stood firm on the fact that God’s Word clearly and unambiguously sets forth certain basic standards of belief and behavior which are essential indicators of genuine saving faith. First, there must be an affirmative acceptance of the biblical gospel! This fundamentally means an acknowledgement of personal sin and receipt of Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for your sin. Second, there must be a life that is characterized by that acceptance which results in an obedient and worthy walk in accordance with a desire to follow after Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Both of these essential indicators have always been seen as evidence of God’s work on and in a person’s heart. However, in contrast, when such evidence is absent from a person’s life, the church has appropriately questioned the person’s conversion and verbal profession of faith. R.C. Sproul says, “We are not saved by a mere profession of faith but by the possession of faith.”

Unfortunately, over the past several decades, certainly within my lifetime, which may be just a few more decades longer, this two part evidence has started to change. Many “so-called Christians” have begun to minimize and decrease the significance of biblical doctrine. So much so that foundational and crucial doctrines such as justification by faith and faith alone have been watered down to some perversion of man’s “easy believism.” On the extreme end of man’s easy belief system, some of these “so-called Christians” have asserted that sinners can be saved totally apart from any knowledge of the gospel. They argue that it is possible for people to live up to whatever standards of religion, morality, and ethics they have, and God will accept them. As if God’s standard equates to whatever they can possibly muster up within themselves. This is absolutely a lie straight from Satan himself! There is undeniably nothing in God’s Word that remotely accepts this kind of insidious morality-based belief. With this type of relativism, there is no need for any foundational doctrinal belief based on Scripture, nor is there a need to have a changed life and live in accordance with how God has called us to live. Any change, small or large, to God’s foundational doctrine, provides no firm foundation at all but instead, an ever changing perversion of truth.

We should be sickened and at the same time saddened at such modern evangelical thinking and behavior. Why? Because it is a perversion of the true gospel! John without a doubt would have been shocked, disgusted, or even enraged at such twisted and perverted thinking. John wrote very clearly and specifically that saving faith involves accepting certain essential doctrines. Some of those would include such doctrines as the Trinity – God three in one; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. John also wrote that acceptance of these essential doctrines results in certain essential actions, which would include repentance of sin, obedience to God’s Word, a desire to walk righteously, love for the brethren, and abhorrence of the evils of the world and the flesh. All writers – yes, I said all writers – of the New Testament taught that a person must believe and practice such truths, otherwise, they do not possess saving faith, no matter what they profess. John MacArthur says, “Bad theology damns, and bad behavior reveals bad theology.” However, in spite of the explicit clarity that the gospel is presented in all of the New Testament, a significant section of “contemporary” Christianity remains confused, or worse, completely deceived.

Some commentators have attempted to explain and even justify that what John is really trying to do is exhort lawless, misbehaving Christians to “rededicate” their lives to the Lord and thus move from carnal, fleshly behavior to mature, spiritual living. By using this interpretation, these commentators are attempting to dilute and soften John’s letter and make it less conclusive and definitive. In other words, they are attempting to weaken the message – make it more palatable, water down the truth. However, their arguments cannot account for John’s clarity and purpose for writing this epistle, which is to enable all readers to examine themselves and to know whether or not their faith is a saving faith. Let’s be very clear: John is not presenting a comparison of deeper faith versus shallower faith. John is emphasizing a saving faith versus non-saving faith. Just look at John’s writings and you know that he is a direct, straight forward, no beating around the bush kind of writer. So you know that this attempted interpretation is just another watered down distortion of truth.

There are others that have completely missed the mark regarding the correct meaning and application of this passage due to an incorrect understanding of saving faith. For example, some believe that repentance is nothing more than a synonym for faith; therefore, there is no need to turn from sin, thus repentance is not necessary for salvation. Several TV evangelists and megachurch leaders follow this approach so they don’t offend anyone by preaching about sin nor the need to repent from it. According to this interpretation, saving faith is nothing more than a simple intellectual agreement to the facts of the gospel. However, with this line of thinking, salvation would make no difference in a person’s belief or behavior. So living in habitual sin would be an insufficient reason to question someone’s salvation. Obviously, this is a really perverted interpretation of the gospel because acknowledgement of and repentance from personal sin is required for saving faith.

Let’s face it, regardless of the numerous errant interpretations of this passage, the true and accurate understanding is not hard to grasp. The correct view is rooted in an accurate understanding of the Greek tenses. The verbs related to sin in this passage are all in the present tense, which indicate a continuous, habitual and routine action. Therefore, John is not referring to just occasional acts of sin, but instead he is referring to an established and continual pattern of sinful behavior. We know from Romans 7:14-25 that Christians will sin and sometimes even willfully sin, but they will not and cannot habitually or persistently sin as a way of life. Galatians 5:24 says, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Also in Ephesians 2:10, Scripture says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

We can’t forget that one of the purposes of John’s letter is to provide a set of tests to either verify or reject an individual’s claim of salvation. Remember back in the first chapter, John completely contradicts the claim of the false teachers to have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to have progressed past the struggle with sin (1 Jn. 1:8–10). John continues in chapter two to clarify that no matter what someone claims to believe, if they don’t obey Christ’s commands and live righteously through a demonstration of love, they cannot be a believer. Now, we have this passage where John reiterates the tests of faith he has already established by refuting the false teachers who were minimizing, and in some cases, denying the significance of sin. John gives us three specific reasons why true believers cannot habitually practice sin: 1) sin is incompatible with God’s law, 2) it is incompatible with the work of Christ, and 3) it is incompatible with the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Sin Is Incompatible with God’s Law

1 John 3:4 – “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.”

There are two primary biblical definitions of sin: “missing the mark” and “without righteousness.” However, there is something common with both definitions: sin is a transgression of God’s law. So, here in verse 4, John explicitly equates sin with an attitude of lawlessness.

John most likely learned this attitude of lawlessness during the Lord’s earthly ministry, when Jesus condemned the self-righteous theology of the Pharisees. The Lord said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”

Isn’t it clear from John’s explanation that there is no wiggle room, no exceptions, no alternative interpretations, no “I’m really not that bad” variations? He says that “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness.” James 2:10 says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” Those who practice sin, practice lawlessness.

Just the opposite is true of believers. They are no longer marked by lawlessness. They have obeyed Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23 that says, “if anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” The truly repentant have resolved to obey God’s law. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 reemphasized this point: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” According to Paul in Romans 13:14, believers also make no provision for freshly lusts and in Titus 2:12 Paul writes that believers deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live sensibly, righteously, and godly.

It should be very clear to us that believers will not habitually violate the law of God because we are no longer dominated by lawlessness, but instead we love God and desire to submit to Him. So, sin is incompatible with God’s Law, and now the second point is that…

Sin Is Incompatible with the Work of Christ

1 John 3:5-8 – “You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

John starts this section with an explanation of the primary reason why Jesus left heaven and came to earth: to take away sins. It would be inconceivable for Christians to continue in sin when Jesus came to take away the sins with His redeeming work on the cross. To ignore this reality would require us to completely disregard the positional sanctification which sets us apart from sin and unto righteousness when the Lord graciously saved us. The believer’s positional sanctification is highlighted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:11 which says, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Also in Ephesians 5:7-9, Paul says, “Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).” True believers have been positionally sanctified by trusting in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

John also reminds us that we “know that He appeared to take away sins.” We know this because of our own personal experience and perspective, our own personal understanding of how Jesus Christ has changed our heart and life. The Greek verb used here by John indicates Christ’s coming to take away sins is an undeniable and indisputable once for all fact. Hebrews 9:26 also says, “Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Jesus’ death on the cross is the one and only act that absolutely, undeniably, without any other event, effort, or any other act, changed my life and my heart forever! Now that’s a fact! It is the single perfect act of love that completed God’s plan of salvation. All who truly believe should have the greatest hope in all the world, because it is not some whimsical wish or a “maybe this is going to just work out” type of belief – it is an unqualified, absolute guarantee! Rest in it!

Jesus Christ came not only to pay the penalty for sin as a propitiation for our sin, He also came to provide forgiveness such that we would be justified before God. Romans 4:25 says, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” And 1 John 4:10 says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been forgiven! We don’t need to drag along our baggage of regrets or concerns, worries or anxiety – we have been forgiven and justified before God. It is only because of Jesus’ sacrificial death that we will stand before God robed in white because of the shed blood of Christ!

As wonderful as this is, He not only came to take away our sin, He also came to “take away sins” altogether. The word “away” used here means to remove by lifting away. As a result of Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross, believers have been set apart from sin unto holiness; our sin has been lifted away. Christ died to justify and sanctify those who would believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior, and to live in sin is contrary to Christ’s work on the cross where He broke the power of sin in the believer’s life. Just think about it, Jesus Christ is the ultimate stain remover! We have been washed perfectly, totally clean! Not a spot!

We need to grasp this incredible truth – Christ came to destroy sin! However, this is not just our future hope, it is also our present reality. We have not merely been delivered from sin when we die, we have been delivered from sin in our life. At the point of salvation, all believers experience a real cleansing and separation from their sins. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” And Hebrews 10:22 says, “…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” We have been delivered from sin; we need to live like it!

This cleansing continues to occur throughout the believer’s life as we are transformed into the image of Christ. Paul, in his letter to Titus, provides us with a very good summary of the present and future aspects of sanctification in Titus 2:11–14 where he writes, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Now in verse 6 John reiterates the principle that no true believer can continue to live in sin. John says, “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” Paul taught this same truth in Romans 6:4-7, where he said, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.” This outlines crucial provisions of the gospel, but Paul elaborates further in verses 17-18: “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Praise the Lord! True believers are no longer slaves to sin. We have been rescued and are now slaves to righteousness. Yes, we have been called to be slaves to the King of kings and Lord of lords!

Also in verse 6, John is emphasizing sanctification. True Christians have received the Holy Spirit, a new heart, complete and perfect forgiveness, and a transformed life. All of this is evidenced by a believer’s ability to be obedient to God’s law by living in accordance to His Word and seeking after Him. John is teaching that “no one who sins;” meaning a habitual action of defiance and rebellion, can also abide in Christ. Please make sure that you understand what John is saying – it is not that people who become Christians will never sin again, but they will not live in the same manner before they received Christ, because no one who sins consistently or habitually “has seen Him or knows Him.”

John continues in verse 7 with more caution. He says, “make sure no one deceives you.” In other words, don’t let others deceive you regarding a correct understanding of sanctification; both positional and progressive. Regardless of deceptive teaching to the contrary, only the person “who practices righteousness” can be assured that they are “righteous, just as He is righteous.” It is absolutely without question that Jesus came to earth to take away the sins of all who trust and believe in Him. This positionally places a believer in the family of God and places us on a path of progressive sanctification.

Now in verse 8, John provides the abject contrast to those who practice righteousness. John says, “the one who practices sin is of the devil.” The Greek word for the devil, diabolos, means accuser or slanderer. The phrase “the devil has sinned from the beginning” may, and likely does, refer to the moment of Satan’s rebellion against God. After all, God originally created him as a perfect angelic being, so “from the beginning” would refer to a change to rebellion from God’s perfect creation. Isaiah highlights the devil’s heart of rebellion in Isaiah 14:12–14 where he says, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Satan is the original rebel, the foremost antagonist against God, and the ruler of this sinful world system. Because Satan opposed God and His plan and initiated the original rebellion against God and His law, all unsaved sinners are children of wrath and are in reality the devil’s children.

At the end of verse 8, John now makes the obvious conclusion that because “the Son of God appeared…to destroy the works of the devil,” it is impossible and unthinkable that true believers would continue in a sin-filled, devil-like behavior. Satan is still opposing God’s plan and His people, but Christians are no longer his children or under his rule, nor are they bound to do his sinful works. John MacArthur says that the phrase “the works of the devil” encompasses various satanic activities such as instigating sin and rebellion, tempting believers, inspiring unbiblical ideologies and false religions, persecuting and accusing believers, instigating the work of false teachers, and wielding the power of death.” However, none of these satanic activities can ultimately defeat the saints, because we have been delivered from Satan’s kingdom. Colossians 1:13 states, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Now that is a hope that is sure! And the last major point of today’s message is….

Sin Is Incompatible with the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

1 John 3:9-10 – “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

In verse 9, John continues by highlighting the ministry of the Holy Spirit. No one who is born of God practices sin, because he is born of God! John is talking about the new birth. In John’s gospel, he highlights this new birth as the work of the Holy Spirit in a discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus. John 3:3-8 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” We may not completely understand how the Holy Spirit miraculously changes us, but Jesus makes it very clear that a spiritual birth does and must take place in the heart of all who believe.

As a child of God, we have been born again and regenerated. The Holy Spirit has rooted in true believers the principle of God’s divine life, which John refers to as a seed. John MacArthur comments that, “Just as a human birth results from an implanted seed that grows into new physical life, so also spiritual life begins when, at the moment of regeneration, the divine seed is implanted by the Spirit within the one who believes.”

How does the Holy Spirit bring about this new birth? He uses the Word of God. In his first letter, the apostle Peter explains the living Word of God and how it endures forever. 1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word which was preached to you.”

Peter says that the new birth is from imperishable seed, which secures our salvation for eternity. John 14:26 says that the Holy Spirit also enlightens our mind so we can discern spiritual things, for He will teach us all things. Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that the Holy Spirit gives us the mind of Christ so we can understand the thoughts of God. It is very clear that this new birth provides a demarcation in a believer’s life; the end of the sinner’s old life and the beginning of a new life in Christ. It is a new life of righteousness because we have been buried with Jesus Christ and raised with him to a new life. It is through God’s Word that the Holy Spirit works.

If you thought somehow we had anything to do with this new birth or it was a synergistic work between our human effort and the Holy Spirit, you are deceived. The new birth is the work of the Holy Spirit alone! Paul provides an undeniable explanation in Ephesians 2:1–6 where he says, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Salvation is a sovereign work of God.

It should be obvious that unbelievers, the unregenerate, are spiritually dead. They are incapable to respond in any way to God’s divine truth. This truth is referred to as the doctrine of total depravity. This doctrine states that their sinful nature affects every part of them and therefore makes them incapable of saving themselves. So, the spiritually dead must be made alive through the work of the Holy Spirit. In other words, all true believers were once dead and then made alive by the Holy Spirit.

In verse 10, John concludes with a summary statement: “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God.” John once again makes it abundantly clear that there are only two groups of people in the world. You are either a child of God or a child of the devil. A child of God will exhibit God’s righteous character by obeying His law and a child of the devil will exhibit Satan’s sinful character by ignoring God’s Word and living a life filled with habitual sin. No matter what a person professes or what religious ceremonies or emotional experience they highlight, if they do not possess saving faith and practice righteousness, they are not of God.

John’s final phrase of verse 10, “nor the one who does not love his brother,” just reaffirms another aspect of John’s moral test to identify true believers. It is the test of love. It should be apparent to us all that anyone claiming to be a Christian who does not demonstrate brotherly love cannot truly be in Christ. All true believers have been given a sufficient amount of discernment to identify those whose talk doesn’t match their walk.

Now I know that was a lot! That was a lot of truth in a very short passage of Scripture. John has given us three specific reasons why Christians cannot habitually practice sin: 1) sin is incompatible with God’s law, 2) it is incompatible with the work of Christ, and 3) it is incompatible with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The question now is, how should we apply what we have learned today? How can we take what we have learned and practically live it out?

Well, I think we all need to first ask ourselves, “Am I living in habitual sin?” It is not a question of whether we sin, for it is clear that we do. Do we willfully, wantonly desire to continuously and habitually sin? I am not asking if you struggle with sin and fall to its temptation. The very fact that you struggle with, or are convicted by your sin, is an indicator that you are not desirous of sinning. However, we all need to be honest in our self-evaluation and determine whether we are living in habitual sin.

If you answer that question in the affirmative, I am going to be candid yet lovingly blunt: you need to repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and seek to live for Him. The fact that you are here today is not an accident. If the Holy Spirit is convicting you today and you would like to talk to someone about receiving Christ’s free gift of salvation, you can talk to one of the elders, deacons, or there are many others who would be very willing to talk with you about what it means to receive God’s gift of salvation.

If your answer to that question is no, then praise the Lord! Be encouraged! Stand firm in the Lord! However, we need to think about what we can do to keep our focus on Christ because we still have a spiritual battle raging within us. What practical steps are we responsible for taking to continue to grow and change, as well as put biblical disciplines in place to keep us focused? Well, I am going ask you guys the same questions I had to ask myself:

  • How is your prayer life? When was the last time you seriously cried out to God? Not just for help, but as an act of worship and adoration.
  • What about your Bible study? Are the pages of your Bible stained with the sweat of your fingers? And if you are more technologically savvy, does your browsing history show you visit your Bible app more than you visit Facebook or Twitter?
  • How are you loving others? When was the last time you took action to show, not just said, that you love someone here in our family at GBFC? How are you serving others? Are you actively serving with the spiritual gifts God has given you? You know you don’t need to be asked to get actively engaged in serving others.
  • Do you have an accountability partner or partners? We all need a brother or sister who will speak truth in love. Someone who knows us well and is willing to tell us hard things and walk with us.

As I mentioned, I asked these questions first of myself. I readily admit I need to be more obedient, more focused, more desirous of an intimate and growing relationship with Jesus Christ. No one has arrived, so we all need to be actively and intentionally obedient to God’s Word as we live for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

1 John 3 - "4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother."