1 John 3:11-18: Love in Action and in Truth

Devotionals > New Testament > 1 John > 1 John 3:11-18: Love in Action and in Truth

1 John 3:11-18: Love in Action and in Truth

November 14, 2023


Ezekiel 35-37, Job 13, John 11:1-16, 1 John 3:11-18

1 John 3:11-18:

John has these two interweaving themes related to doctrinal orthodoxy and moral obedience to Christ. And here he is reflecting on the second of those themes, but particularly regarding love. John gives two reasons and models for what love is and should be.

The first is an ancient model. The command to love goes right back to the beginning. It is in the Old Testament. It is taught there and modeled there. And in particular, John brings out the story of Cain and Abel to show us by contrast what love is not, and to remind us that we too may find that the world around us loves us not, but even hates us. But Christians are to love; a sign that we are Christians is that we love each other, that we have passed from death to life. By contrast, hate is in essence murder, and murder which is not repented of and brought under the saving grace of God is not an inheritor of eternal life. This teaching about love, then, is ancient. Therefore, love one another.

But second also this teaching about love has as its model Jesus himself. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” What an extraordinary model. Other religions and other philosophies talk about love. It is rare indeed to come across anyone who does not think that love is, in some sense, a good thing. But we have a model for love that establishes what love truly is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. That is love. And it means that Christian love is established not only on an ancient foundation but is shaped in cruciform pattern. Christian love is not sentimental; it is not merely a feeling. Christian love costs. For it cost Christ his very life. And we ought also to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. This is not just talking about love. It is love in action and in truth.


Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.


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