I am overwhelmed by the passage of scripture in this post today. The passage is so profound. Open your heart and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through this passage. We know how sin stops us from being who we really are – and that is children of God! Sin also shackles our fellowship with God and the presentation and manifestation of His glory in and through us.
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Hating your brother, which means fellow Christians or non-believers is a sin. In this passage we are instructed towards right loving — the kind of love that comes from God, true and sacrificial love. We are given three ways to love in this way – exhortation to love, an explanation of love and an expression of love. Let us look deeper into these truths.
Exhortation to love– “whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
As Christians, we practice righteousness and we also love each other, this is an action as children of God. The disciples heard this message from Jesus after the Last Supper when they received the new commandment – love each other as Jesus had loved them. It is crystal clear that John calls us to love, but, what does that mean? How?
Explanation of love– “12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.”
The parallel John draws on is brotherhood. One brother having problems with the other. One Christian having problems with another Christian. One person having a problem with another person. The examples that could come to our minds are countless. For this reason, John warns us, “15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
This is an exceptionally strong image – to hate someone is to be considered a murderer! Hectic! Hating another is like us having a Cain attitude. Such a person is clearly not enjoying the wonderful abundant life and fellowship Christ offers us. The hatred is destroying the person and causing them a miserable existence.
John explain the opposite of hatred, right loving “16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” The same words echoed in John 15:13? “13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” If you have experienced Jesus’ sacrificial love, then you understand what love is all about. As we live out this kind of sacrificial love, God’s abundant life will abide in us—we will experience full joy.
Expression of love– “17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Whilst the need to physically give your life for another is unlikely to happen, it would be a blessed opportunity if it were to physically come your way. But that does not mean we cannot express love sacrificially. When our brother or sister has an emergency situation, urgently needs help, grab the opportunity with both hands – don’t miss it. To say we love without actions, without meeting his or her needs is pure hypocrisy.
Let’s love sacrificially, let’s give sacrificially! Unmeasured giving reaps unlimited living! To love as Jesus loved and loves us, that is the nectar of life!
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