Today, Thursday August 12
“Out of Death into Life” 1 John 3:11-14
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 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. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
Remember a key word in John’s Epistle is the word “know”. John wants us to have the assurance of our salvation by knowing that we have “passed out of death into life”. It is not being self-righteous or proud to be able to say, “I know that I have been saved and I know that I have eternal life.” We can only know that because we have first acknowledged that we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” and were separated from God. It was only by the grace of God through our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ His Son that have been saved! And then there is evidence and proof that a transfer from death to life has taken place!
John's letter has been compared to a spiral staircase because he keeps returning to the same three topics: love, obedience, and truth. Though these themes recur, it is not true that they are merely repetitious. Each time we return to a topic, we look at it from a different point of view and are taken more deeply into it.
We have already learned about our love for other believers—"the brethren" (1 John 2:7-11)—but the emphasis in 1 John 2 was on fellowship. A believer who is "walking in the light" will evidence that fact by loving the brethren. In our present section, the emphasis is on his relationship with other believers. Christians love one another because they have all been born of God, which makes them all brothers and sisters in Christ.
Obedience and love are both evidences of sonship and brotherhood. We have been reminded that a true child of God practices righteousness (1 John 3:1-10), and now we shall look into the matter of love for the brethren (1 John 3:11-24). This truth is first stated in the negative—"Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother" (1 John 3:10).
A striking difference should be noted between the earlier and the present treatment of love for the brethren. In the section on fellowship (1 John 2:7-11), we are told that loving the brethren is a matter of light and darkness. If we do not love one another, we cannot walk in the light, no matter how loud our profession. But in this section (1 John 3:11-24) on brotherhood, the epistle probes much deeper. We are told that loving the brethren is a matter of life and death. "He that loves not his brother abides in death" (1 John 3:14).
When it comes to this matter of love, there are four possible "levels of relationship," so to speak, on which a person may live: murder (1 John 3:11-12), hatred (1 John 3:13-15), indifference (1 John 3:16-17), and Christian compassion (1 John 3:18-24). The first two are not Christian at all, the third is less than Christian, and only the last is compatible with true Christian love.
Please read and study these verses with me that you may know that you have passed out of your death into His marvelous life!