Daily Devotion by Stan Brown
I John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
In discussing love for one another, John raises its opposite, that is hatred, to a new level. He equates it with murder. When believers hate their brothers and sisters, they are no different than a murderer. Earlier, in this section, he had told them not to be astounded when the world hates them. Now he might be understood to say that they should be absolutely shocked when they see a believer hating another believer or to make it more personal, I should be astounded when I find myself hating a fellow believer. Whenever that feeling begins to arise, I must confess and continue to walk in the light where the cleansing blood of Christ gives me fellowship with my God. Unfortunately, we are often not shocked enough when hatred runs rampant in the church, indeed, as it seeks to control our minds and our actions.
Once more, John is writing to believers. It would be difficult for one to hate his brother if he were not a believer. The one hating and the one hated are brothers. They are both believers. For John, as he emphasizes opposites, if we are not loving we are hating. When we fail to love, we are lumped together with killers. The eternal life which we possess having believed in Him is not abiding in us. Think about this for a moment. I, as a believer, possess eternal life; yet I do not let eternal life possess me. All the resources of God Himself are available to me and I step away because of one “annoying” believer that I refuse to love. Fortunately, I never annoy anyone else (sarcasm intended).
This thing about loving other believers is of paramount importance or John would not spend so much space emphasizing it. It begins with the love of God with which He loved us by dying for us when we still hated Him.
It continues as Jesus declares in His High Priestly prayer, and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26). When we fail to love we fail to declare God to the world.
It is so important that we must seek to make things right with each other before worshipping Him. In fact, making things right with one another is part of worship. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (Matt. 5:23-24).
It places us with Cain who wanted to keep his sins in darkness with no light revealing them. (unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous (I John 3:12).)
It seats us in the arena where Satan holds sway through his tactic of deception. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
In order to possess all that God wants us to experience, or as John states in this verse, have it (eternal life) possess us, we must love one another. Next, John will spend a few verses describing this love.