“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesn’t love his brother remains in death.”
How do you know you are alive? You love the sister and brothers in Christ…
We can be walking around as physical bodies and full of the vigour of life, and yet be spiritually dead to God. It is not about church or reading the Bible or prayer, but about having the life of God dwelling in us, that is, the love of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. If we have this spiritual life we are in the family of God and will love Him and also other believers. This is the true mark of the true Christian. There are many that are following the system of Christianity but are full of judgment, pride and argument against fellow Christians. This should not be.
“… and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If we have no love for God or other Christians we are dead people. Dead to God and with no spiritual sensibilities at all, no matter what we might think of ourselves. The Apostle John states the truth quite clearly, that only those who love have passed from this death to spiritual life. This is the deciding factor in our Christian assurance, that we love people.
If we do not love others around us generally, or more specifically our fellow sisters and brothers, we cannot count ourselves Christian. We remain dead to God and therefore spiritually dead too. If we live in the realms of hate, we do not know God no matter what spiritual exercises we may perform.
What does it mean to love other Christians?
It means we bear with them and forgive them their indiscretions and misunderstandings, absorbing their slights and replying with only loving answers to their perceived wrongs. We bear with people who have different views from us about the various issues in the Christian life, and are respectful and generous in our treatment of others who are different. It does not mean we tolerate error, but keep the bond of peace with sisters and brothers who do not follow exactly what we might follow.
We are to love our enemies too and be able to forgive others as we have been forgiven. We will maintain the peace between each other and in all our relationships, as a top priority as it is our Christian witness amongst everyone we know, saint and sinner alike.
“… doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself;”
This is the way of Christ, who gave up His life for our sake. This should be our attitude towards each other and the abiding demonstration of our passing from death to life.