Loving One Another (I John 3:11-20) – Part 1
Christlike Love (I John 3:11-12)
I John 3:11-12, For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
Here in these verses, John’s main emphasis is one of the most needed things in the world and in the church, which is love. The love spoken of here is the unconditional, self-sacrificing love which God has shown to man. This is the very thing that Christians are to have for one another. This message suggests that while others are loving us, we are to be loving them.
In I John 3:11, John said that we have an obligation to love one another. This obligation was laid down from the beginning. John probably had reference to John 13:34, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. This word “love” means “we are to continually love others with a self-sacrificing love.” It is the same kind of love that God has for us. When the ministry of the Lord Jesus was nearing its end on earth, He shared with the disciples the key, distinguishing mark of a Christian. It was not someone who wore a cross around their neck. It was not someone who went to church. The mark was love for the brethren.
I John 3:12, on the other hand, suggests that Cain had a love unlike what we are to have. Cain’s love for his brother Abel had conditions in it. Cain’s love for his brother dried up once he discovered that his brother was so much different than himself. Cain discovered that Abel’s deeds were righteous and his own deeds were evil. Cain’s love was a wrong love because it was not strong enough to let his brother take a few steps ahead of him. In our loving one another, we must be sure that we have a right love. This kind of love is unconditional.
Cain killed his brother because he was angry at God for refusing his offering to the Lord and was jealous that Abel’s offering was accepted. It was accepted because it was offered in obedience and faith (Hebrews 11:4). Cain wanted to worship God on his own terms and did not follow the instructions of his father on how to offer a proper blood sacrifice to the Lord. Cain’s offering was a bloodless one.
Cain was not any different than people today who worship God on their terms. They leave Jesus out of their lives. They depend on works, to get them to Heaven or gain merit with God, but all to no avail. Without personally accepting Christ’s sacrifice for sins, a person is of the wicked one (John 8:44).
Love does not persecute the righteous. A person who truly loves his brother will not persecute him. Love means that we will not even dislike another person. We love them, care for them, and reach out to them. We want their fellowship in Christ, longing for them to experience all the richness of life and for them to know all the fulness of Christ and His love.
PRAYER: Lord, I see that love for others and for You does not come easily to me. That kind of love isn’t in me on my own. I’m asking You today to pour that kind of love into my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.