It’s possible that one or two of you may be reading this because you think it’s about a certain television program. It’s not; it’s about something much more disturbing (and real).
I’ve been studying John’s gospel in my Sunday School class. One thing has become increasingly obvious–it’s entirely possible to believe in Jesus and still be a child of the devil. That’s actually been a recurring theme in John’s gospel. For instance, in John 2:23-24, we read that “many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them”
Commentators see a deliberate play on words there. Many believed in him, but he did not believe in them. They trusted him, but he did not entrust himself to them.
This week I’m studying John 8, and the same idea is even more prominent. In John 8:12-30, Jesus proclaimed that he was the light of the world, that he had been sent by his Father, and that he would be lifted up (a veiled reference to his death and resurrection). And “as he was saying these things, many believed in him” (v. 30).
What happened next is staggering.
Jesus turned and spoke directly to the very ones who had just believed in him. In the next few sentences, he exposed the wickedness in their hearts and called them slaves of sin and children of the devil (8:31-47). Although they believed in Jesus, they remained lost, unsaved from the sin that infected their hearts.
I’ve often thought and said that there are only two types of people in the world–those who are lost and those who are saved; those who are for Jesus and those who are against him. I would have to qualify that statement now and say there are also two types of believers in the world–those whose hearts have been changed and those whose hearts haven’t; those who are children of God and those who are children of the devil.
Somewhere a dividing line exists between those two types of believers. Where would you place it? Or better yet, where does John 8 (or other passages of Scripture) place it? I have a few thoughts about that, but I’d also like to hear yours.
Perhaps there’s one final question that should be asked. I don’t like asking it because it often has a deleterious effect on the tender consciences of some true believers. However, the same problem Jesus exposed in John’s gospel is a massive problem here in the Bible belt, where everyone is a believer, and therefore the question must be asked–is it possible that you’re on the wrong side of that dividing line? Could you be a lost believer? If your answer is yes, please don’t despair. Realizing and openly admitting that you’re a child of the devil is the first step toward becoming a true child of God.