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Whom Do We Manifest?

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Once the Lord Jesus was talking to a group of Jews who claimed to be His followers; His conclusion was mind-blowing, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44a)!
        Naturally, they were offended by Christ’s strong statement and reacted with anger and animosity (cf. vs. 48, 52, and 59). The entire conversation (John 8: 31 – 59) is worthy of serious study for us to escape such illusive suppositions. It is not enough that we make a claim of our faith; Christ makes it very clear that an appropriate life is essential.
      In the beginning of the talk itself He exposed their true state, telling them that were not true disciples (vs. 31). When they chose to refute it and argued with their Abrahamic heritage, the Lord explained further of their bondage in sin pointing out to their murderous character (Vs. 34 – 38).

Devilish Characteristics
Refusing to accept the Lord’s indictment, they further claimed to be born of God (v. 41). Christ then declared unequivocally, You are of your father the devil”. The Lord did not stop there, but went on to explain the reasons behind such a conclusion, “the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him……… for he is a liar and the father of it.(John 8:44).
   Their aggressive reaction at the end of the conversation in fact proved beyond doubt, Christ’s words were absolutely true (V. 59). This so-called ‘believers’ were actually promoting deception and destruction, which are devilish characteristics.
      Beloved, the word of God categorically states, true Christian life is not just following an ideology or being part of a social group, but living out a Christ-like life. Our belief must be balanced with suitable behavior.

Work of Salvation
To understand this truth more, we need to consider the various aspects involved in God’s work of salvation. When a sinner turns to Christ the Saviour confessing their sins, not only they are forgiven and saved from the eternal judgment but they are also regenerated by the wonderful operation of God. Thus, a sinner by birth becomes a child of God (John 1:12, 13; 3:3, 5; 2Cor. 5:17).
      From that moment of spiritual birth, God begins a work in us (Phil. 1:6). The ultimate aim of that work is to make a believer conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29). Slowly but surely the indwelling Holy Spirit imparts the life of Christ into the practical life of a Christian.
      So, a born-again believer realizes that all the experiences they are going through are part of this divine program to develop the Christ-like character in them (Rom. 8:28, 29).

Divine Characteristics
All those who are born of God not only possess the divine nature but also exhibit the characteristics of the heavenly Father (1John 3:9; 2Peter 1:4). It is very much reasonable for the offspring to exhibit the parent’s qualities. Yes, it may not be in all perfection, yet the Lord expects a fitting level of godly character in His people as the days go by (2Cor. 3:18).
       On the contrary, if someone claims to be part of God’s people, yet their life is characterized by evil deeds and unholy words, it’s a contradiction. According to Apostle John, such ones are liars who do not have any truth in them, and they dwell in darkness (cf. 1John 1:6; 2:4, 9; 4:20). For, light and love are two divine characteristics that ought to be found in those who are born of Him (cf. 1John 1:5, 6; 4:7, 8).

Love for Enemies
The Lord Jesus also refers to light and love as essential evidence of regeneration (Matt. 5:14, 44 – 48). In His well-known Sermon on the Mount the Lord says,
Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5: 44, 45a.
       If Christ expects His followers to treat their enemies with love, what about treating their own brethren? If Christ demands us to pray and do good to all who stand against us, how should we relate with our fellow believers and family members?
       A loving and prayerful relationship proves our new birth from the Heavenly Father. For He is full of love and compassion towards mankind, in spite of the way they respond to Him. We who claim to be the children of God are bound to exhibit the same love, compassion and mercy towards all our fellow beings (Luke 6:36).
If one habitually hates and uses abusive words against fellow beings, it’s high time for them to scrutinize their claim of new birth. Apostle John minces no words while writing about such Christians, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1John 4:20).

Yield and Grow
It’s definitely a blessing and privilege to be born of God. It’s God’s own work from beginning to the end (Phil. 2:13). However, God cannot change a person who is rigid and rebellious. It is our responsibility to yield to the Holy Spirit each moment so that we may grow towards a Godlike attitude more and more (Rom. 8:5; Gal. 5:16; 2Cor. 3:18).
      Let us examine sincerely, whom do we manifest? Are our words and deeds reflecting the characteristics of our heavenly Father? Is our life characterized by truthfulness, love and compassion?
      Yes, we may not have arrived there yet, however, let it be our lifelong pursuit and prayer to have a Christ-like attitude and response pattern (Phil. 3:12; 2:12).


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Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You can reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com

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