This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1Jn. 3:16 NIV
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Today’s devotional is a continuation of the Devotional with the same title where the argument was made by the disciple John that those who intend to be addressed as Children of God must do right by doing the Will of God at all times and must equally love fellow brothers and sisters – 1Jn. 3:10. The first part dwelt mainly on what it takes to do the Will of God with the result being that such is described as a righteous person as such would have been doing what is right in the sight of God. Today’s Devotional focuses on the second attribute expected of one who is a Child of God which is the need for such to love brothers and sisters.
The two words brothers and sisters in this case refers to all those who belong to the same house of faith. Those who have become born again by denouncing their evil ways and have taken the decison to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour – 2Cor. 5:17. The Bible says that by so doing we have become children of the same father and co-heirs to the kingdom of heaven – Rom. 8:17. We have become blood relations by virtue of the blood that was shed for all believers. It is thus expected that the ties are not just ordinary but blood related. Not just ordinary blood but the precious blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for all believers – Jn. 1:12. The Almighty God desires that all those who claim to be his children by virtue of this blood must exhibit genuine love amongst one anothers. The disciple John says that this has been the message from the beginning (1Jn. 3:11; Lk. 10:27) and so the one that claims to love a brother or a sister must avoid actions that are similar to that of Cain who murdered his brother Abel simply because his actions were not found righteous by the Almighty God, compared to his own action – 1Jn. 3:12; Gen. 4:1-16. This kind of action even though unacceptable, may be understandable when the world puts such up but should not be found amongst Christian brothers and sisters. As far as John is concerned, the one who loves his brother or sister has crossed over from death into life but the one who refuses to love according to him is dead but alive, since the one who does not love his brother or sister is a murderer and no murderer has eternal life residing in him/her – 1Jn. 3:13-15, 1Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:21.
In the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, he defines genuine love amongst Christian brothers and sisters as one similar to that which our Saviour Jesus Christ demonstrated when he, an innocent man, died on the cross for us sinners that we might live. John expects that Christian brothers and sisters must be willing to make sacrifices without limit for one another if they truly see themselves as children of God – 1Jn. 3:16; Jn. 3:16. He went further to argue that it is not possible for the love of God to be in the one who is well positioned to support a brother or a sister and refuses to do so – 1Jn. 3:17 adding in an emphatic statement that love should not be in words and speech but in actions and in truth – 1Jn. 3:18.
In case some people today may want to plead the excuse that they do not know what constitutes truth in action, the disciple John says it is about the conscience of the individual. The one whose heart does not condemn him/her with regards to a particular action should rest, assured that whatever demand is made of the Lord will be granted. It is all about the conscience of each person with regards to doing what is the Will of God in particular situations – 1Jn. 3:19-22. Of course, not knowing that Will will still not be acceptable an excuse as all who believe and are true children of God are expected to dwell in his Words day and night (Josh. 1:8) and more importantly be led by the Holy Spirit – Rom. 8:14.
This scripture of the disciple John renders unacceptable every excuse of ignorance that the one who claims to be the child of God but does not do the right thing or show genuine love will want to plead. It is simply impossible to claim to be a child of God and not do right in all situations or show genuine love for fellow brothers and sisters, especially when such is in a position so to do, and still operate a conscience that lacks guilt. The Bible says that the one who knows right and does not do it commits sin (Jms. 4:17) just as the disciple John emphasized that the sinner is a lawless person and cannot claim to be a child of God – 1Jn. 3:4-6. The one who is a child of God must be willing to make sacrifices for fellow brethren and should have the honest desire to do the Will of God in all situations. That is when such can be regarded as being righteous. It is simply impossible for the one who claims to be a child of God to not have a guilty conscience when such is acting against the Will of the Almighty God. Such according to the Disciple John is actually of the Devil since that has always being the action of the devil from the beginning of creation – 1Jn. 3:9-10.
If indeed you are a child of God, then aim to do what is right at all times and genuinely love the brethren. Let the limit of your honest actions of support for the brethren be the limit of your resources. That is when you will be walking the talk. May God grant us all the Grace to be His true Children indeed in Jesus name. Amen.