Good Morning!Sorry I missed you yesterday! I was in Miami for medical appointments for 2 days. (Did get in a bit of shopping, however!)
1 John 3:11-24
11For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you.
14We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. 16We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
The message he has been giving the believers from the beginning is to love one another – this was what was meant by obedience and righteousness. The author thinks of an example – Cain murdered his brother – he did not love him. He did so because Abel’s actions were more pleasing to God, more righteous. This reminds the author that the Christians to whom he writes are often hated by the world, because they please God, and not the world.
We are alive in Christ, he says, because we love. Not to love is to remain in death. If those to whom he writes hate a brother or sister, it is to their souls as if they murdered them, for hate tears apart one’s soul (not the one hated, but the one who hates). Jesus laid down his life for us – how then, can we fail to love? How do we see brothers and sisters in need and fail to help? Is that living in God’s love?
It is as if the author speaks directly to us down through the ages, as well as to his little community of believers – we should not just say we love, we should do loving things, in truth and in action. And we know that we are doing good because our hearts can recognize that, as we come before God.
He closes this section with another repetition – this is his commandment, that we should believe in Jesus Christ, and we should love one another. If we do that, then he abides in us and we in him, and the Spirit reassures us of that, as the Spirit works in and with us.