“And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
And this commandment we have
The idea of “commandment” is an injunction, charge, order, behest, precept. A “commandment” is equivalent to a principle or precept of the Word of God. It is a prescribe principle that accords with God’s standards.
Love for God and love for fellow Christians form one single commandment (3:23). John explains the “commandment” by the next clause – “that he who loves God must love his brother also.” God orders the Christian to love His people.
Jesus Himself taught the two-fold commandment of loving both God and others (Mt 22:37-40; Jn 13:34; Mk 12:29-31).
that he who loves God must love his brother also
We cannot separate love for God and love for Christians. Those two loves operate as one in God’s economy. This idea is a summary of chapter four.
Love to other Christians is a binding principle for those who walk with God.
God’s commandments are not suggestions. There is no room for debate. We have no choice. There is no place for deliberation when it comes to God’s commandments. It is God’s will that the Christian correlate love for others with love for God.
Love for God orbits around His commandments, especially the precept of loving Christians. To violate the precept is not to love God. The commandment at minimum means that it is God’s will that anyone who loves Him should also love His people. It is easy to pretend to love God whom men do not see since it is a sentiment that no one can verify.
The only way we can prove we have faith in Jesus is to love God’s people. If we would be as careful to demonstrate our love one to another as we are to criticize one another, people would soon get the idea that we loved them. We do not have to agree with them, but we have to love them. We do not have to see eye to eye with all God’s people but we do have to love them unconditionally.
A Christian who loves God always expresses that love to others in concrete terms. True love for God shows itself in more than sentimental, saccharine or subjective love. It is an objective love as well as a subjective love. Active love convinces our condemning heart that we are in tune with God. This gives us assurance that we are right with God.