Day 3 Read: 1 John 3:11-18
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,[c] that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Reflect: What, according to these verses, are the components of true love? Why is true love sacrificial in nature? What kinds of things does love require us to sacrifice? Why is true love always demonstrated and not just verbalized? If we only verbalize love, what does that mean about the manner in which we love?
Consider: The first class conditional clause “if the world hates you” (ei misei humas ho kosmos) presents this hostility not as a potential or foreseeable threat but rather as a present reality, a reality that is to be expected. Just as love is the defining characteristic of the child of God, so hatred is the natural response of the world toward righteousness.
Respond: Can you think of some other examples in Scripture that point out the nature of true love? How does this understanding of love run contrary to what the world thinks of as love?
3 Daniel L. Akin, 1, 2, 3 John, vol. 38, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001), 156.