Archive for September 17th, 2018

1 John 3:10-12

In 1 John 3:10-12 John gives us the two qualities that indicate we are not a child of God:

  1. Living a life of sin
  2. Doesn’t love his brother

Those two things show that we’re not in God’s family.  It seems pretty harsh, but how we live and act does demonstrate our spiritual parentage which ultimately will determine our nature and destiny.  If Jesus is our Savior and Lord, that should flow out of us through our actions.  It doesn’t mean we’ll be without sin but certainly means we’ll strive to walk in God’s ways.  “So now we can tell who is a child of God and who belongs to Satan. Whoever is living a life of sin and doesn’t love his brother shows that he is not in God’s family; for the message to us from the beginning has been that we should love one another.”

One of the challenges we must wrestle with is how we try to balance righteousness and love.  At times they may seem difficult to manage together. They will never be in complete balance, but both area essential.  Righteousness without love makes one a religious Pharisee, and love without righteousness makes one a partner in evil. We are never to love at the expense of righteousness, and are never to be righteous at the expense of love. We aren’t looking for a balance between the two, because they are not opposites. Real love is the greatest righteousness, and real righteousness is the greatest love.

John’s message from the beginning has been for us to ‘love one another’.  It’s pretty simple, but it has never changed.  Jesus gave that command and the Apostles have reinforced it over and over in scripture.  Some may think that because Christ Followers talk about a “personal relationship with Jesus” that it is only us and Jesus who matter. But how we treat others – how we love one another – is really what matters before God. In fact, John gives us the perfect example of what the opposite of that love is. “We are not to be like Cain, who belonged to Satan and killed his brother. Why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing wrong and he knew very well that his brother’s life was better than his.”

John gives us the negative example of love – Cain.  He was not right with God and he hated his brother.  He was raised in a godly environment and should have been equipped for love, but love is a choice, and he chose not to love his brother.  Guzik points out these truths about Cain:

  • Cain’s disobedience came from a lack of faith (Hebrews 11:4) which resulted in first disobedience, then hatred.
  • Cain’s disobedience and hatred was based in pride (Genesis 4:5).
  • Cain’s disobedience and hatred made him miserable (Genesis 4:5).
  • Cain refused the warning God gave him, and gave into the sin of hatred (Genesis 4:6-7).
  • Cain’s sin of hatred led to action against the one he hated (Genesis 4:8).
  • Cain was evasive about his sin of hatred, and tried to hide it. But God found him out (Genesis 4:9).

We can learn about the importance of how we live, and the impact of sin through Cain’s life.  If we don’t choose love, the wrong outcome occurs.

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