May 13, 2021 – Thursday
1 John 3:23-24 NIV
23 And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.
24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us.
Read the above carefully and then consider verse 21-22, Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. Did you catch the major difference? Verses 21-22 speaks of keeping His commands, plural, while verse 23 speaks of keeping this one command of His.
The one command rolls what we might think of as two commands into one, And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. It is as if believing in the name of Jesus Christ means we will also love one another as He commanded us. Perhaps this is meant to lead us back to Matthew 22:37-39 when Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment? His reply was, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. It was as if He was saying the two cannot be separated, and said as much when He added, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
With that last statement He said All, not some, not most, but All. There was no question in His mind, there was no equivocation when He said, All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Everything hangs on those two commandments. Then in our verses of the day we have John saying something very similar about God’s command, And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us, as if they were two sides of the same coin, not to be separated. You should also recognize the second part of this command as the same one that came from Jesus in John 15:12, This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. So, Jesus’ Father said, if you are going to truly believe in My Son, Jesus Christ, then you must also love one another. To summarize, we are to believe and love.
The value of believing and loving is given in the very next verse, The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us. Jesus said something very much like this in John 14:23, Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son, so it is not surprise they abide in us and we in them. Evidence of this abounds in one who loves Jesus, for the Holy Spirit will admonish us when we miss the mark and rejoice with us when we do not miss the mark.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for such a promise of Your indwelling in each of us and each of us indwelling in You. I cannot explain how this happens, but only know the truth of it from my own personal experience as mentioned above. Please help me to hit the mark more and more and miss the mark less and less. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.