I John 3:1-8

Today’s Scripture Focus:  I John 3:1-8

                 “He’s definitely his mother’s son.”  “Boy, you could never deny that was your daughter!”  “Oh, you know how he is—He’s a Smith.”  We often attribute a person’s characteristics to inheritance.  If someone looks or acts a certain way, it is often true their parents do as well.  There is most definitely a genetic and environmental component to our habits, strengths, weaknesses, likes, and thought patterns.  For example, if we are raised in a private, quiet home we are not likely to be a loud person who constantly airs our dirty laundry.  If our dad really valued sports and had a great throwing arm, there’s a good chance athletics will be a part of our life.

Today’s scripture focus applies this principle to spiritual children.  If we are God’s kids, we will act like it!  I John 3 opens with an admonition to truly ponder who we are, and marvel.  “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”  The idea conveyed by the word “how great” is best translated as “what kind” or “where from”.  In other words, “where does this kind of love come from?  It is definitely not of human origin— it must come from above.”  This correlates closely to John the Baptist’s declaration in John 2—”Look!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

That is how God’s love was demonstrated—Christ came to destroy sin.  Yet, as the world did not know Christ, it will not know those who are children of God through Christ.  Once sin is taken away from our lives, the world can’t recognize us anymore.  This is the beginning of our preparation for what we will become when Christ appears again.  Since we have this hope, we “purify ourselves”.  Purity is a ritual term in the Bible—it speaks of standing.  Jews were considered pure if they washed their hands correctly, observed the right holidays, etc.  Only the blood of Jesus could bring purity of content  that transforms the inside, not just the outside.

So how do we know we are pure?  We are pure if we are children of God, for God is pure.  How do we know if we are children of God?  By our actions!  In the same way we inherit certain family traits from our earthly parents, we inherit right actions from our Heavenly Father through Christ, our brother.  If we continually, purposefully sin we are children of the devil, the father of sin.  Sinners act like their dad.  However, if we continually repent of our sin and seek to do good, we are children of God, the Father of good.  Christians act like their Daddy.  So, does simply being good turn us into a Christian?  No; faith in Christ gives us power to do good.  Redemption must always lead to righteousness.

  • Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
  • Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
  • Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.


According to I John 3:1, why doesn’t the world “know” God’s children?  What does it mean that the world didn’t know God (see John 1:10-11)


What does it mean to be spiritually pure?  Is it possible to purify ourselves?  How?


What are some of your “family traits”?  Are there personal weaknesses that are common in your family that you’ve had to work to overcome?  When we become God’s children, we have power to overcome our weaknesses, even inherited ones.  Pray for God’s power to overcome generational sins in your