By Stan Brown
I John 3:23 And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
As we come to the end of this section John intertwines the concepts of faith (belief) and love. These two concepts are dear to the heart of John. In his Gospel he uses the phrases believe into or believe in over fifty times as he describes the faith that brings us into eternal life. It is a faith that recognizes the gift and the person; desires the gift; and asks and receives eternal life. In this epistle John uses the word love forty-five times in stressing its necessity. So, what is the commandment that we are to obey? It is the interleaving of faith and love. All of what John has said relates to this commandment. It begins with a belief in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be cleansed from unrighteousness. (Quick interlude: The death of Jesus Christ on the cross emphasizes the atrociousness of sin in that the death of Jesus was required in order to extinguish the claims of sin.) The greatest demonstration of love ever exhibited is Christ’s death on the cross. We must exhibit the same love to each other that Christ exhibited on the cross. We must always express love for one another. The command is simple in concept. We believe in Jesus and express His love for one another. This commandment undergirds everything John is saying.
It is the basis for the confidence and boldness we have as we enter His presence both now and at His coming. It is the foundation for the ability to enter His presence in prayer And whatever we ask we receive from Him as we walk in faith and love. The loving believer takes the love of Christ as the model by which we love one another by actions of love, indeed, the deeds of love (Yes, I know I used the word love four times (five if you include loving) in one sentence but I didn't know how else to say it.). This commandment is the basis for the invigoration of active love in accordance with truth (there can be no love apart from truth). This is the model that quiets the guilt-ridden heart as we accept the blood of Jesus as the cleansing for our sins. This is where we live as we walk in the light. We boldly and confidently enter His presence through the intertwining of faith and love offered to us through the saving blood of Christ.
We are saved by faith and we live by faith. We enter the relationship with God through faith and we live out a life of love through faith. This is what belief in Him is all about. It is receiving and it is living.