Birthmarks of True Believers
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Several years back my mother give me my baby book. One of the interesting sections in that book is titled "birthmarks." I have two very distinct birthmarks that my mother listed in that book. One is a pin hole in my right ear and the other is a circular spot on my left side just above where my rib cage begins. My mom noted those birthmarks on that page. She told me she found them right after I was born. She said it was easy for her to tell that the nurses brought her the right child because she saw the birth marks. My birth marks identified me as her child. In the letter of 1 John the author, the apostle John uses the phrase "born of God" (once - "born of him") eight times. In this study we are going take a look at this phrase because the author, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is describing the "birthmarks of true believers."
The author of this letter says he wrote "that ye may know that ye have eternal life..." Since one purpose of the letter was to show people how they could be sure that they were saved (have eternal life) then somewhere in his letter he must have reveal how it is possible to know. In fact he does point out Five birthmarks of true believers.
Before we look at those "birthmarks" I must remind you that the Bible warns that there are those who claim to be God's children but aren't!
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
There are many who claim to be God's children but are not because they do not have the believers birthmarks that all children of God have.
The following "birthmarks" can be seen in God's children
1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Look at the phrase doeth righteousness in this verse. We read that the first birthmark of God's true children is doing righteousness. The word righteousness is translated from the Greek word dikaiosune (dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay; Strongs #1343). It is a present participle showing continuous or repeated action. Next, consider the word doeth, poieo (poy-eh'-o; 4160). It is likewise a present participle which carries the idea of habitually doing or practicing something, in this case "righteousness." Therefore, one birthmark of a true believer is that he or she practices righteousness habitually as a way of life. Simply stated, it is obvious that they are a Christian because they live like a Christian day by day. 1 Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
The first birthmark of a true believer is that he or she lives a consistently righteous, holy life. A person who professes to be a believer yet does not live, for the most part, a righteous, holy life has a MAJOR problem! They are missing a birthmark.
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (practice; Gk - poieo) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin (present infinitive which refers to a continuous or repeated action), because he is born of God.
At first glance this passage of scripture seems to be teaching the false doctrine of sinless perfection, but it is not. Let me explain. The commit is the same Greek word we previously looked at -- poieo (poy-eh'-o; 4160). This present participle which carries the idea of habitually doing or practicing something, in this case "sin." It is not the habit of those who are born of God to practice sin. In other words, SIN IS THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, NOT THE RULE IN THE TRUE BELIEVERS LIFE.
The reason "sin is an exception to the rule..." is because the believer has a new nature. The phrase his seed remaineth in him is a reference to that new nature. And that new nature cannot sin! However, God has not destroyed or eradicate the old sin nature yet. Therefore, if a believer "walks after the flesh" he will still sin occasionally. But remember, the goal of the Christian is NOT to sin. 1 John 2:1a says, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. That is the objective all believers are to strive for. Yet, we also know we will not hit the bulls eye every time. From time to time when we will sin (1 John 1:8 &10). When that happens 1 John 2:1b comes into focus -- And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
There is a little phrase that goes like this -- Christians are not sinless but Christians do sin less. Yet, it is clear that sin is to be the exception to the rule in the believers life. One birthmark of a true believer is that their life is neither characterized by nor dominated by sin. A person who professes to be a believer yet does not live, for the most part, a righteous, holy life has a MAJOR problem! He is are missing a birthmark.
1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is a birthmark of a believer. Kenneth Wuest makes these comments -- "The exhortation is in the present subjunctive which speaks of continuous action." Looking at the passage in that light it actually says, "...let us love one another by habit or continual practice." Wuest goes on to say "the words one another are a reciprocal pronoun in the Greek text. There should be reciprocity in the exercise of this love."
In the family of God there is to be a mutual giving and receiving of love. One way this can be done is by serving each other. Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. No church can function if people do not show their love one for another by serving each other. There are people serving in the nursery, teaching our children, playing the instruments, singing in the choir, handing out bulletins and more. Further, people show their love by praying for others, fellowshipping with each other, encouraging, exhorting and more.
The birthmark of a true believer is the desire to fellowship with, pray for, share with and serve other brothers and sisters in Christ. In short to love them. 1 John 3:14 says, We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. This verse is pretty clear. If a person has no love for other Christians he is not in the family of God...the birthmark is missing.
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
The Greek goddess of victory was Nike. Nike tennis shoe is named for this goddess of victory. Both of them (the goddess and the tennis shoe) get their name from the Greek word nike (nee'-kay; 3529) which simply means victory. That brings me to the overcome. It is the Greek word nikao (nik-ah'-o; 3528) which comes from the same root word nike. The word overcome means to be victorious or prevail. True Christians do not let this world conquer them, they conquer the world. They do not love the world (1 John 2:15-17); there is no friendship with the world (James 4:4); they do not adopt the world's values or practices (Romans 12:1-2; Titus 2:12). They are overcomers, overcoming the world, the devil (1 John 2:13-14), and the false teachers (1 John 4:4). True Christians overcome by faith in God's Word, not by their own power or wisdom.
Another birthmark of a true believer is his separation from and his victory over the world. His values and practices are uniquely Christian. His decisions are based on the Wisdom of the Word (the Bible) not the wisdom of the world (which is foolishness with God -- 1 Corinthians 3:19-20). One who claims that he is a Christian but has worldly values and has adopted a worldly lifestyle is missing the birthmark that identifies true Christians.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
The word "toucheth" is the Greek word haptomi (hap'-tom-ahee; 680) which means to attach oneself to; to grasp or lay hold of. True believers do not desire to fellowship with Satan but with Christ. They resist the devil in the power or the Lord and when the resist him, he must flee (James 4:7). Further, true believers are kept by God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 4:4). In fact, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is in control of the persons life not the unholy spirits.
This is the last birthmark of a child of God.
Does your life evidence the birthmarks of a true believer? If it does not, why not repent of your sins and ask Jesus Christ to save you? If you would like to receive Christ as your personal Savior, please read on --
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness Romans 1:18
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. Romans 3:10-18
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
Salvation is the free gift of God's eternal blessing through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is offered to all who will believe on Christ.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Romans 1:16-17
...the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Romans 3:22-30
For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Romans 4:3-8 & 24
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:8-13
Dear God -- I confess that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again. I now ask you Lord Jesus to come into my life, forgive my sins and save my soul. I am trusting only you Lord Jesus Christ to save me and take me to Heaven. Amen
If you prayed that prayer and received Jesus Christ as your Savior, drop me an E-mail message at FirstBaptistChurchOC@gmail.com and let me rejoice with you that you are now a child of God. The Bible says, But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12
It is through faith ALONE and grace ALONE, not by any admixture of grace and law, faith and works (Ro. 4:13-16; 11:6).
The believer is: