Divine certainties. We know that we are murderers because we have not sacrificed ourselves for each other. (Wuest), Guzik - The basic Christian message has not changed. 2. We must be around each other to love each other. God is greater than our guilty feelings. 12 We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. This love is the special fruit of our faith, and a certain sign of our being born again. Cain murdered his brother Abel, as recorded in Genesis 4. First John 3:11 stands as the thesis for this paragraph: “This is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”. In contrast to the wicked act of Cain, John turns our attention to the perfect display of love found in Jesus. The character of God, who as light is wholly righteous, true, and loving, demands and empowers moral responses on the part of his children. Cain murdered his brother Abel, as recorded in Genesis 4. Those who abide in Christ have confidence and will not shrink back when Christ returns. Both doctrine and ethics are at the heart of the gospel because they are so inextricably linked. We speak that we do know. But John wants us to know that we can have our hearts assured. You know that you have truly moved from the realm of darkness and sin to the realm of light and righteousness when we love each other. This is a frightening application to the body of believers. In the New Testament the world also appears as a hostile environment. 1 John 3:11–18 follows an important passage on our identity as children of God, 2:28–3:10. Biblically speaking doctrine and ethics always go together. John was not telling them some new truth or something he had "invented." (Love: A Matter of Life and Death), Love (25)(agapao) "speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. Our practice proclaims who and what we are. We are not listening to ourselves, to the world, or to Satan. Being precedes doing, but all Christian doing must be based on being, that is, on who we are in Christ. Therefore, do not be surprised that the world hates you. I. Children of the devil are self-consumed. (4) We have the Spirit of God to let us know that God abides in us and we in him. James 2:15). John begins the next section of his letter with his central theme -- love: "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another." 3) What does Jesus mean when he said in John 3:12 “I have spoken to you of earthly things”? As John Calvin said "John reminds us that he was teaching nothing but what had been heard by the faithful concerning love from the beginning and had become old through long usage. In 1 John 1:8, the grammar indicates John is speaking about occasional acts of sin. This teaching comes to us in the form of two contrasting pictures, a negative and a positive example, if you will. John turns to the example of Cain and Abel to teach why we must love one another. To love the brothers and sisters in the believing community demonstrates that we belong to God; to reject the brothers and sisters demonstrates that we don’t really belong to God. God is greater than our condemning hearts. This is the kind of love that John is talking about. Because of this the adjective “gospel” is included in the English translation (The NET Bible = "the gospel message"). From Talk Thru the Bible. Perhaps some have thought that because Christians talk about a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” that it is only us and Jesus who matter. The doctrinal foundation that God is light and the moral, ethical foundation of love for one another are both at the heart of the apostolic gospel. 1 Jn 1:5. God knows everything. What we need, which is what his readers needed, is to go back to what we have heard from the beginning. (1John 2:7-note). The world is going to hate you because your actions are righteous and their actions are not. His example, John says, is not at all to be followed by Christians. John lays it down that anyone who does not do what is right is by that fact shown not to be of God." After all of this discussion about helping others, why does John say "His command" is "to believe in the name of His Son?" That's what the false teachers in John's day were trumpeting. What does it mean that God is light? From the very beginning, that is, from the very first time they heard the Gospel, John's readers knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what God would expect and would empower them to do: love one another… And any gospel you believe, any gospel you proclaim that does not include both doctrine and ethics is only half a gospel, tragically incomplete, radically distorted, hopelessly deficient. 1. 1Jn 3:11 and 1Jn 1:5 are the only NT uses of aggelia. Love acts. What John and Jesus are teaching is that we are a bunch of murderers. If we do not love, then we abide in death. (Harris) Earlier John had said, Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. In verse 19 John says we can know we are of the truth and have our hearts assured that we have eternal life. John 3:11. “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 5:21–22 ESV). John 15:12 "is itself a restatement of the “new commandment” of John 13:34." In these verses we are reminded once again that our love for one another is evidence of genuine faith in our hearts. Evil has a jealous hatred for good. The Lord saw Nicodemus as representative of many who could not bring themselves to believe in the grace concept whereby God makes all the provision for salvation (Jn 1:14). We are killing our spouses, our children, our parents, and our brethren when we fail to love them with godly, sacrifice love. Beginning (746)(arche) refers to the commencement of something as an action, process, or state of being. 11 Most assuredly, Jesus used “most assuredly” three times during this important dialogue with Nicodemus, showing with unequivocal force the importance of being born again. ", Vine - The readers heard it from the beginning, since it was among the first things inculcated in their hearts as believers, and not only so but it had been constantly repeated. Both doctrine and ethics are at the heart of the gospel because they are so inextricably linked. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. People will come and claim to love God but do not show that love by what they do. The religious leaders taught that if you murdered you would be liable to judgment. These sinful decisions can weigh our hearts down. The grammar of 1 John 3:6 indicates that John is speaking of a settled, continued lifestyle of sin. As in this case, it will usually force you to examine the context. We know what love looks like because we see in Jesus the perfect example of love. Jesus taught if you were angry with your brother you were liable to the judgment. ", Piper - The wording of 1 Jn 3:11 is striking. 2:9-11). In the last 3 verses of this passage John speaks of right relationship between ourselves and other Christians. There the message which John's readers had heard was a doctrinal one, the theological foundation for their faith that rests in the character of God 'This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all' (1Jn 1:5). And in both cases, both in doctrine and in ethics, our need is not for something new. (As we discussed, Jesus is the ultimate example of sacrificing for others. [⇑ See verse text ⇑] John begins a new section with a positive reminder about love. To get what 1 John 3:11 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity. We are not talking about saying that we love each other. When we get angry with one another and refuse to show proper love, we are showing that we are not born of God and do not have eternal life. But how we treat others - how we love one another - really matters before God. As the writer of Hebrews declared, we stir each other up to love and good works when we are gathering together (Hebrews 10:24-25). For this is the message— In this verse we have St. John's first reason why Christians should love one another; namely, "It is the message or command of God in Christ." Here John is referring to "the beginning of Jesus’ self-revelation to his disciples in the course of his earthly life and ministry." We must sacrifice our material goods for the gain of the Christian in need. Footnotes. Our love for one another is demanded by the character of God, but it is also empowered by the brightness of the God who is light and love, with whom there is no small print. This is why Cain killed Abel, and why hatred is considered the spiritual equivalent to murder. Cain’s heart was wicked which led to his disobedience. And then and only then will we be free to forget about ourselves in order to genuinely love someone else. This is the hope of those who are born of God. (1) We believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. John then makes the point even stronger in verse 15. Abel’s heart was right which led to obedience. We also need to be aware that there are many in the world who know how to take advantage of Christians by claiming to be Christians even though their lives do not show this to be true. Read 1 John 3:23-24. But it is equally true that the essence of the gospel includes the moral imperatives of repentance and of a new life of love lived under the Lordship of Christ and empowered by his Spirit. … Jesus gave the same command: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. They were infatuated with newness. Sometimes our consciences still bother us because we know we have done wrong. Aggelia os related to a number of important NT words including aggello - to announce, paraggello = command; kataggello - to proclaim, euaggelion = gospel, etc. “It is the Lord’s command, and if this is done, it is enough.”. And I would add specifically "Life in the family (love of the brethren)! We know that we have not loved like we ought to have loved. John provides three markers of the Divine parentage. So let's delve with him! What does 1 John 3:11 mean? Even after we have done these things, we will sometimes have days where our hearts still condemn us. We are keeping his commands and do things that are pleasing to God. Jesus now discloses to the henceforth silent Nicodemus, in growing excitement of feeling, the source of his ignorance, namely, his unbelief in what He testifies, and which yet is derived from His own knowledge and intuition. We have the full, complete revealed word of God that tells us what we must do to be pleasing to God. Only when we see and believe and cherish the brightness of God will we be free to entrust ourselves and our futures into his hands. (Harris), Stott explains that this original Gospel message "was also public knowledge in contrast to the private and secret enlightenment which the false teachers claimed. Those who hate are of the world. Whenever you encounter a conjunction used as a term of explanation, pause and ask "What is the writer explaining?" The reason why Cain killed Abel was because his own actions were evil while Abel’s actions were righteous. The world is going to hate us because we are walking in the light and exposing darkness. Our churches are full of selfish, bickering people. We cannot say we love. We are to lay down our lives for one another. Now that we have zeroed in on who John is talking about, let’s allow the strength of God’s word convict our hearts. Compassion will lead to action. (1 John 3 Commentary - Daily Study Bible), Harris notes that "This section marks the beginning of the second major part of First John (1John 3:11–5:12)." 1 JOHN 3:11. When we mistreat each other, are not kind to each other, cause problems, are not sacrificing for each other, and putting others ahead of ourselves, we are showing that we are remaining in spiritual death. Picking up in the middle of Paul’s description, “having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.” (1 Timothy 5:10 ESV) The point I want to make is that we are not talking about people who claim to be Christians but have shown themselves to be Christians. If our hearts are closed against our brother in need and we do not act to help, how can we think that God’s love is remaining with us? Next: 1 John 4:1-6, Tested, West Palm Beach church of Christ4236 Haverhill RoadWest Palm Beach, FL 33417, Sunday  Services9:30 am / 10:30 am & 6:30 pm. ", Daniel Akin - John speaks of four different levels of relationships in which we can choose to live: murder (1Jn 3:11, 12), hatred (1Jn 3:13-15), indifference (1Jn 3:16, 17), and Christian love in action (1Jn 3:18). The world, ungodly people, cannot receive the things of God (John 14:17,22; 16:8-9 ; cf. (The Letters of John by John R. W. Stott), From the beginning - Same phrase - 1Jn 1:1, 2:7, 2:13, 2:14, 2:24, 3:8, 3:11. Marvin Vincent on message - “announcement,” as of something good; not a mere command, as the law. The Bible is the history of the Jewish people, and their existence to-day is a guarantee that the basis of the book is firm and undeniable. He knows your repentance. Jerome informs us that toward the close of the apostle’s life, after he had become too infirm to preach, he still continued constantly to give the exhortation, “Little children, love one another.” He tells us how he remarked. An Old Command for ALL Christians (vv. John concludes that obviously murderers do not have eternal life. If our heart does not condemn us, then that is not a bad thing if we are walking in the light. The character of God, who as light is wholly righteous, true and loving demands and empowers moral responses on the part of his children. Now in our verse today (1 Jn 3:11) the message they had heard from the beginning was equally foundational, but now not in the realm of doctrine, but of ethics. An essential part of that message was that we should love one another (cf. But according to John that isn't what we need at all. (The Letters of John by John R. W. Stott). And any gospel you believe, any gospel you proclaim that does not include both doctrine and ethics is only half a gospel tragically incomplete, radically distorted, hopelessly deficient. What are some of the signs of genuine saving faith? John says we have "heard from the beginning" the message that we should love one another. Robertson on (the message) from the beginning - They had the message of love for the brotherhood from the beginning of the Gospel and it goes back to the time of Cain and Abel (1Jn 3:12). Read 1 John 3:11-12. Perhaps we think John is exaggerating or going a little overboard. 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