Daily Thoughts : March 4th
1 Jn 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
This is a strange verse. It doesn't say what you expect it to say. You expect it to say: this is how we know we love God, by loving His children. No, John virtually says that at the end of the previous chapter: he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (4:21). He then says it in a slightly different way: everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. (5:1) So, so far he has suggested that our love for God will be seen in our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but this is where the whole thing pivots and suddenly points the other way!
It's almost like he is saying, OK, well we accept that Jesus taught us to love one another, but how do we actually show that love for one another? And this is where, at first sight anyway, he comes up with a strange answer. You will know you love God's children by the way you love God and do what He says. Pardon?
Yes, that's what John says. You will know you love other Christians when you obey God and do what He says. Ponder on it. When you love God by doing what He says, you will be loving other people – because He loves other people and after His command to love Him whole-heartedly, the second command is to love your neighbour, those nearest to you (Mt 22:35-40). When you focus on being obedient to God you will find that you automatically love other believers because you express Him and He does!
So obedience is the key way to show we love God and that leads on to loving all others around us, both inside the church and outside it (but that latter part is for another day). The New Testament is full of instruction on how to live well as a Christian and every such instruction is a command from God. We say we love Him? Then let's ensure that we obey each instruction we come across in our reading the Bible.
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