Scripture for Today: 1 John 3:16-24

16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

God demonstrated his incredible love to us when He allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. God did not merely proclaim His love for us. He did not just write about His love for us. He actually acted out His love for us in a costly and painful way.

In today’s scripture we see that the way we know love at all, is through the love of God towards us through this incredible sacrificial act. “By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us” (vs. 16a). However, this act of love was not intended to end with us. We are not a dead end repository for God’s love. John goes on to say, “and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (vs. 16b). God’s unconditional love towards us is intended to transform us so that we will in turn love our fellow man with a similar unconditional and sacrificial love. This must have been radical teaching 2000 years ago during the time of Christ. It is equally radical in our day and age as well.

John concludes this section of his letter by saying there are two commandments for those who seek to abide in God. “That we believe in the name of His son Jesus Christ, and love one another. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God and God in him” (vs. 23-24). Knowing and believing in Jesus alone is not enough if we seek to live the abundant life God has for us. We must respond to those around us the way Jesus responded to us. We must act towards our fellow man in sacrificial love. The only specific example John gives in this passage, of how to “lay down our life” (vs. 17) for others, is to give to those who are in need. However, the implication is clear; if we are laying down our lives for others, we are holding nothing back. We are living as Jesus lived, holding nothing back.

My NEXT Step: Who in your life is a “brother in need” that you can help as an act of love?

Questions to Catalyze Growth:

  • Who is a “brother” or fellow man that you should be demonstrating Christ-like love towards?
  • How can you practically demonstrate love to others? Give specific examples.
  • According to the scripture today, how can we “have confidence before God?”
  • According to the scripture today, what is required to “abide in God?”
  • What have we learned about love based on today’s passage?