I JOHN 3:23-24: “Now this is his command: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps his commands remains in him, and he in him. And the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he has given us.” CSB
OBSERVATION: What is the essence of the Christian life? If you had to define Christianity in one simple sentence, what would you say? The Apostle John helps us with both of these questions in the closing verses of the third chapter of the Epistle of I John.
There is something within our human nature that tends to complicate things. We do this in every area of life. We worry about things that have not even happened. We burden our life by failing to distinguish that which is truly needed from the tyranny of the urgent. And, we build man made systems and rules that complicate our relationship with God and others.
A perfect example of this is the Jew’s misuse of the Sabbath. God had created the Sabbath for man. It was given as a gift to mankind for their rest and benefit. Yet, the Jewish nations turned the Sabbath into a long litany of rules and regulations. They missed the spirit of the law and focused on the letter of the law. And, in so doing, they moved further away from God and each other.
Can it really be that simple? Can our relationship with God and one another be so simple and clear? John writes,
- “Now this is his command: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us.”
This is not a new statement. It is a restating of the Great Commandment that was the foundation of the Old Covenant and remains the foundation of the New Covenant.
- “Jesus answered, “The most important is Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 CSB
To love God, to honor the Father, is to receive the gift of His Son. To believe in the Son is to know the Father. This is the first and greatest commandment. And, to love one another as He commanded us is the second. Jesus said, “There is no other command greater than these.” It really is that simple!
How can this be true? It is true because God is love. If we know God we will become like him. And, to become like God is to love one another. And, when we love God and love one another, through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we naturally fulfill all the other commandments. Love is the fulfillment of God’s commands!
- “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 CSB
We do not have this kind of love within ourselves. This love comes from God. It is the very presence of God indwelling us through the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the one who transforms our lives into the full image of Christ. As we abide in Christ, we abide in love. As we yield to the Holy Spirit, we are transformed by love. And as we love God and love one another, we grow in the blessed assurance that we are His!
- “The one who keeps his commands remains in him, and he in him. And the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he has given us.” 1 John 3:24 CSB
Lord, help me keep it simple today! Help me love you and give me the opportunity to love others with the love You have given to me through Jesus Christ my Lord!
In Jesus Name!