Daniel 11:13-35; 1 John 3:14-24; Psalms 121:5-8; Proverbs 27:3
NT: “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him — how does God’s love reside in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows all things. Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commands and do what is pleasing in his sight. 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.” (1 John 3:16-24 CSB)
The enemy of our soul is also known as the accuser of the brethren. He and his demonic minions accuse us and cause us to second-guess our standing in Christ by faith. He will even use the over-burdensome legalistic requirements of God’s law to convince us that we do not measure up to God’s standards and do not deserve God’s forgiveness or grace. One distinctive characteristic of the Christian faith is the sure hope and confidence that is found through faith in Christ. Other world religions require sacrifice, works and submission without any assurance at all – because those religions are not built on the completely sufficient sacrifice and powerful resurrection of Christ and the availability of salvation by grace through faith. However, the enemy will do whatever he can to whittle away at our hope in Christ and cause us to doubt and live in fear and uncertainty.
John wrote, that whenever we have doubts and feel condemnation in our hearts, we can have confidence before God. How do we have confidence before God? We have confidence and are able to receive whatever we ask of God by keeping His commands and doing what is pleasing in His sight. For some, that may wreak of legalism based on works, but it is not. John went on to clarify God’s command and what is pleasing in His sight. God’s command, that is pleasing to Him when we obey it, is this: believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another. If we keep that command, we remain in Christ, and Christ remains in us. How do we know that we are in Christ and He is in us? We know through the presence and fullness of the Holy Spirit within us.
How do we know if we are loving one another the way Christ commanded us? Well… both God the Father and Jesus Christ have shown us what true love is and how to love truly. John 3:16 tells us that God the Father loved us so much that He gave His only Son to us, so that by believing in Him, we would not perish but have eternal life. In the same way, 1 John 3:16 tells us that we know love through Christ’s example – that He sacrificially laid down His life for us. God the Father showed us His love through giving for our benefit. Jesus Christ demonstrated His love through sacrificing for our benefit. That is love – and that is how we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The love of God is more than just talk and intention. The love of God is also action and complete sincerity. God doesn’t pretend to love us. He truly loves us and acts on that love. We are to do the same. How then are we able to love (even those who are “unlovable”) the way the Father and the Son have loved us? The love of God and the love for one another are intertwined. As we love God the Father and the Son by faith, the love of God for people will be deposited in our lives. And as we obey God’s commandment of loving others sacrificially, our faith will be strengthened and our love for God will grow… which deposits even more of God’s love for people in our lives. And on and on it goes until we reach the end of our earthly lives.
Obey God’s command. Allow the love of God to grow and blossom within you. Act on that love and find steadfast confidence and hope as you abide in Christ and He abides in you through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You do not call me to blind sacrifice, work and submission without a sure hope of my future and a confidence before God. I also thank You that for everything You call me to do, You equip me and empower me with grace to do it all by faith. Help me to love who and what You love, and help me to do what is pleasing in Your sight as I remain in You through faith and obedience by grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.