A recent study said that 73% of all posts on Facebook and Twitter are outright lies. This includes religious, political, and social posts. When we articulate or share such posts which are untrue we are perpetuating lies. The posts I make are primarily religious based. Thus, it is supremely imperative that what I write is true, lest I lead someone astray. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (Jam 3:1). If I did write lies, I would be revealing who my father was_the devil. Yet, if I write the truth of God, I reveal that my father is God.
It isn’t a bit unusual to hear someone say, “You’re just like your father,” and frequently this is said more in criticism than in praise. Neither is it unusual to hear someone say that someone is “a chip off the old block.” With both of these statements it isn’t normally the looks of a person that is being considered, but the actions which show them to be like their father or mother. It was with this in mind that Jesus talked with the Jews as recorded in John 8. He ended the discussion with them by saying, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do”. If the Jews were like their father the devil, who am we like? What do our actions tell about who we really act like?
As Jesus talked with these Jews he showed them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world” On. We learn in verse 30 that some of them believed in him and he said to them, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” But something about that statement made them reply to him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, you will be made free” (v. 33). They were Abraham’s descendants. They had been in bondage.
However, if they were Abraham’s children, why didn’t they act like the one they claimed as their father? Instead, as we noted earlier Jesus said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and 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. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own (resources), for he is a liar and the father of it”. Though most would not admit it, when we practice sin we are the servants of sin (Rom. 6:16 f; 1 Jn. 3:8). No matter that we may have at one time been baptized for the forgiveness of our sin, when we continue to practice sin our actions show who our real father is, and it is not God.
In these same verses, after Jesus had challenged their claim that Abraham was their father the Jews said, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father God” (v. 41). This was a slur to how Jesus was born. They assumed he was born of fornication and not an immaculate birth. And to this Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but he sent me” (Jn. 8:42). There are certain actions that show that we are of God. Jesus shows this in one way in the Sermon on the Mount when he told his disciples and the multitudes, “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, 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; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:43-45). Or as John records in 1 John 4, “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? And this commandment we have from him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (v. 20-21).
Brethren, our actions tell on us. While we, like the Jews there in John 8, may claim to have God as our Father, when we act like the devil it would indeed be appropriate for our Lord to say to us, “You are just like your father,” and in this case he would mean the devil. After whom do you pattern your life? Can friends and neighbors see your life (your good works) “and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? Who is your father?