One of the profound impacts of becoming a Christian is the fact that we love one another. This does not mean that we love particular Christians that we relate well with. It means that we have a genuine love for all those who are in Christ. The apostle John explains that our love for one another is evidence that we are Christians.
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
1 John 4:12
John also gives two evidences that will indicate whether we are a child of God or a child of the devil.
By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:10
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
1 John 3:14
The tests are very simple. Are you practicing righteousness? Are you loving your fellow Christians? If the answer is yes, you are a child of God. If your answer is no to either of these questions, you are a child of the devil.
John also addresses the danger of self-deception.
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
1 John 4:20–21
A claim to love God is not the same as loving God. A true love for God will be demonstrated in the way we live. One evidence of a genuine love for God is a love for our fellow Christians.
John further clarifies what this love should look like.
We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 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? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:16–18
Our love for fellow believers is demonstrated by our actions. We cannot be disengaged from recognizing needs and meeting needs. This means that biblical love requires an awareness of the needs of those around us. It is a love that will sacrifice for the benefit of others. It is a love that may take us out of our comfort zone. It is a love that puts others above ourselves.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11
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