“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”
because we love the brethren.
Love for fellow Christians is verification that we passed into the sphere of eternal life at the point of salvation.
Jn 13: 35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
He who does not love his brother abides in death
We do not earn eternal life by love but we evidence eternal life by love. Lack of love for Christians is an indication of spiritual death. Part and parcel of spiritual death is lack of love.
Ep 2: 1 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…”
Love, on the other hand, indicates that the reality of spiritual life abides in the believer. Loving Christians is an evidence of faith in Christ.
Loving Christians gives assurance that we possess eternal life.
It is evident that we have come to know Christ if we love Christians. It is also apparent that God gave us the capacity to love. This is convincing, conclusive evidence of having passed into eternal life. When we fall in love with the Son of God we automatically fall in love with the child of God.
Ep 5: 1 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Criticism from non-Christians is easier to take than criticism from saints. God’s people are supposed to love us and when they don’t, it is a big disappointment. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond.
True love begins at conversion because we love with the love of God. This kind of love is a sign of new birth and the divine nature. God’s very nature is love (1 Jn 4:8). This love enables us to love the unlovely, to love those who irritate us. We can love those who mistreat us. This is the mark of the new nature in Christ.
Some Christians hate other Christians. They resent and are bitter toward people in their church. They may even hate people in their own family. It is clear that these Christians are carnal believers.
Carnal Christians are out of fellowship with the Lord and walk in a form of death, of darkness (1:5-7). This is the death of Romans 8:6, 13; Ep 5:14; 1 Ti 5:6; Ja 1:15; 1 Jn 3:14; Re 3:1. That is also the kind of death that the prodigal son experience when he wandered away from his father. His father said, “my son was dead but he is alive again.”