Summary: Bible Study
PRACTICING LOVE - I John 3:10-24
The Gospel of John was written to persuade the readers that Jesus was the Messiah and to persuade them to believe upon Him and be saved - John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
However, the First Epistle of John was also written to give those believers in Christ the assurance of their salvation - 1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Shortly after John’s readers had been born again, two heretical movements brought confusion to these new converts:
1. The Antinomians tried to convince believers that since one is saved by grace they are no longer obligated to keep God’s law. This brought confusion and conviction because the Holy Spirit within was contradicting what the Antinomians were saying from without.
2. The Gnostics (Perfectionists) were discouraging and deceiving these new believers by teaching that one became sinless or could achieve sinless perfection after conversion. These Christians knew their experiences did not match this teaching.
Therefore, the Holy Spirit is correcting both of these heresies in the First Epistle of John. This section declares that the real proof of salvation is not your denominational background nor doctrinal persuasion, but love.
I. LOVE FOR THE BRETHREN IS THE HIGHEST EXPRESSION OF SALVATION (3:10-12).
In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
1. An absence of love demonstrates an absence of salvation (3:10).
2. Even righteousness does not prove ones salvation unless it is combined with love for the brethren (3:10). This passage shows again how relevant and ageless is the Word of God. There are those today who stress righteousness to the exclusion of love, and there are those who emphasize love to the exclusion of righteousness. The born again child of God will possess and profess both love and righteousness. Why? Because God is both holy (I Peter 1:16) and God is love (I John 4:8).
3. This fact has always existed in God’s creation (3:11). Why? Because God has always existed (Gen. 1:1 and John 1:1) and God never changes (Mal. 3:6 and Heb. 13:8).
4. Cain is used as a Biblical example of this fact (3:12). Cain’s deed proved whose child he really was. Cain’s life was also filled with other evil and unrighteous deeds.
NOTE 1: The word that is translated "slew" is a very interesting word in the Greek language. It is a word which means "to slay, to slaughter, to butcher by the cutting of the throat". It is used in classical Greek to refer to the slaughtering of victims for sacrifice by the cutting of the throat, to drain the blood. This Greek blood "sphazo" is different that the usual word "to kill" which is "apothnesko". Why did God choose this word "sphazo" to describe how Cain killed his brother? This word and this verse proves that the method Cain used to kill his brother by the cutting of the throat and the jugular vein had been taught to Cain as the means that God used to slay the sacrificial animal. (Genesis 3:21). This also answers why God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4:4-5). God had clearly communicated both the method and the message of the sacrificial slaughtering of animals. Cain used both this sacrificial instrument and method to slay his brother and condemn his own soul.