Looking Back, Looking Forward
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. 1 John 3:19-24
Believing in Jesus and loving one another are two sides of the same coin. John can't stop writing about it! Think back to the beginning of the book. Everything John wrote about remembering the gospel is the “believing” half of the commandment. We can't believe in Jesus if we don't understand who He is, what He did, and how we can be saved.
Chapter 3 has been about how the gospel leads us to stop sinning out of loving obedience to God and to love one another, particularly emphasizing caring for fellow Christians who need material and practical help. These kinds of obedience, John has told us, show that we do love God.
To finish this chapter, John is reviewing and re-emphasizing how his whole message is connected. He's also going to give a little preview of chapter 4. The next chapter will be about “testing the spirits,” so John ends this one by reminding us of the Holy Spirit who lives in us and makes our connection to God possible.
Question for reflection and discussion
How are believing and loving connected in your life?
Dear God, thank You for guiding John as he wrote. We ask that You would help us understand and absorb what we have learned so far, and guide us as we continue to study Your word. Amen.