Daily Devotion by Stan Brown
I John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
I know that the chapter and verse designations are not inspired but it is interesting that I John 3:16 describes the love that is set forth in John 3:16. The Gospel describes it from the Father’s perspective as it says For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son while the epistle speaks from the perspective of the Son Who laid down His life for us. This is the greatest example of love that exists. The Father gave His Son for us. Jesus gave His life for us and not only for our sins but also for those of the whole world. The love expressed by Jesus emphasizes the holiness of God. God’s holiness demanded that only by this supreme act of love could we be freed from the bondage of sin. This act of love moved us from darkness into light; from death into life; from bondage of sin to freedom in righteousness; from hatred to love; from the world of deception to the sphere of truth. (Quick rabbit trail: I could comment in depth about all these transitions and the one John stresses here is hatred to love. But when one considers the world of extreme deception that Satan has created it is amazing, that people could be so easily fooled as God is completely removed from the picture. Believers can also be affected by the delusions of Satan. He is really good at lies. We must remain in the light. We must love the truth. Rabbit trail ends here.) So, the death of Jesus is the example of love. John says that His example demands a response from us.
The bar is set high. The example of love is what Jesus did for us. We need to be willing to give of ourselves for fellow believers including the unlovely and unlovable for that is what we were when He died for us and we often are today. Let’s face it. This is not easy. Believers are sinners and they may do things that stab us to the heart. Sure, sometimes we are overly sensitive but there are occasions where believers do things to other believers that are just plain evil. John says we are to love and forgive those folks. (One more quick rabbit trail. It should be noted that God’s love and forgiveness do not always involve immediate restoration to fellowship but God always loves us. Our love and forgiveness for others does not always restore fellowship between us but we must continue to love as God loves. Forgiveness and love are especially difficult when someone we love is hurt. Think how the Father must feel when we deny the Son by what we do, yet with arms wide open He welcomes us because He loves us. Let’s face it. This is not easy. One more time. This is not easy. That rabbit trail was slightly longer than I thought but it ends here.)
The bar is set high as John says and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. It is not often that we are asked to literally die for one another but this is the standard. What is it that we are willing to do for one another in need? On the positive side, I see believers loving each other on a regular basis. We need to be known for caring for each other just as Jesus cares for us. This is who we are!!