“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.”
The word “manifest” means open to sight, visible, evident. The evidence is plain to see. It is evident to all. It is patently easy for anyone who wants to examine the evidence. The presence or absence of sin capacity or the divine capacity makes it apparent in which domain we live.
The Christian living under the control of his sin capacity manifests his true authority – himself. He conceals the fact that his old nature is in the ascendancy. The Christian in fellowship manifests a different righteousness, a righteousness that produces love for his brother.
A child of the Devil reveals his true nature in sin, religion, and human righteousness. We can identify his true relationship by this. He lives and walks according to his satanic worldview.
Mt 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Ac 13:10, “…and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?’”
Eph 2:1-3, 1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
The filling of the indwelling Holy Spirit is the one manifestation of fellowship with God.
Man is a container, for he does not have the capacity of divine life within himself. He needs God to fill that container with His divine nature. This gives him the capacity to fellowship with God. As Augustine said, “Man is restless until he finds his rest in You.” God made man for Himself. Pascal said that every man has a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill.
The unbeliever produces not only sins but also human righteousness with his sin capacity. It is difficult to distinguish between a non-Christian who produces human righteousness and a believer out of fellowship manufacturing human righteousness.
What makes a Spirit filled believer different from non-Christians producing human righteousness and carnal Christians producing human righteousness? If non-Christians have righteous behavior patterns, what makes the child of God different? It isn’t a new smile on our face, although that might be a tertiary effect.
There is only one thing that makes a difference: the Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit who manifests Himself through us when He controls our lives. If He does not control our lives, no one can see Him in our lives. When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He produces the character of Christ in us that pivots around divine, self-sacrificing love.
Ro 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”