Love One Another – 1 John 3:11-4:21
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
What is love? We use the word to mean lots of things: I love my dog… I love pizza… I love my church… I love my wife… I love my neighbor… I love God. Each of those phrases has a slightly different nuance to the word “love.”
Instead of defining “love,” John opts to give us an example of the sort of love that Christians are called to demonstrate. According to John, “love” is Jesus giving His life for us. It is this sort of love that is to define the Christian life. This is true holiness!
And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. Sometimes we interpret that phrase to mean that we ought to lay down our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters… that we ought to love Christians this way. However, if we are to be shaped by the love that Jesus had, we recognize that the call is to love all people and to lay down our lives for all people. This is how we are to be shaped by the character and nature of God.
This is how the world will know that we are Christians (see John 13:35). The mark of a Christian is not superior knowledge and wisdom… it’s not the ability to preach, teach, or evangelize… it’s not generous giving or perfect attendance… it’s not service on a board or the number of years you’ve been a “member.” The mark of a Christian is loving as Jesus did. We are called to live out this radical, self-sacrificial, transformational love in all of our relationships.
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling; All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion; Pure unbounded love Thou art.
Visit us with Thy salvation; Enter ev’ry trembling heart.