Verses to review today: 1 John 2:1-3:15
New Verse: 1 John 3:16
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (ESV)
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (KJV)
Greek: ἐν τούτῳ ἐγνώκαμεν τὴν ἀγάπην, ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἔθηκεν• καὶ ἡμεῖς ὀφείλομεν ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν τὰς ψυχὰς θεῖναι.
Transliterated Greek: en toutō egnōkamen tēn agapēn, hoti Iekeinos hyper hēmōn tēn psychēn autou ethēken• kai hēmeis opheilomen hyper tōn adelphōn tas psychas theinai.
Literal Word for Word Translation: by this we have come to know the love (of God), that He laid down His life on behalf of us, and we are owing on behalf of the brothers to lay down our lives.
Vocab: ψυχὴν, psychēn, soul/life; ὀφείλομεν, opheilomen, we are owing.
Commentary: Many talk about the love of God as a love that is not judgmental – that a loving God would never condemn a person because of sin, except for the heinous sins commited by someone like Hitler. However, this kind of talk demonstrates a lack of understanding of the love of God and the gospel. First of all, all people are already condemned, not because they sin, but because they don’t know God (Jn 3:17-18). Their sin is a result of not knowing God and evidence of the fact. One is judged for their own sin, but the ultimate problem is estrangement from God. People sin because they don’t know God and they are unable to be in the presence of God because they sin. It is a catch 22 that no one is able to get around, no matter how good of a person they may seem to be.
The only way out of such a situation is for God to remove the effects of sin and to reestablish the relationship. No person is able to come to God unless he is pure (Mt 5:8). Only by union through faith with Christ, is purity possible and reconciliation with God a reality. And only through dying, as we all die because of sin, and being resurrected for fellowship with God, as only a pure man can do, is a way made for which we can be reconciled. Jesus died as we do, but He did not sin (Heb 4:15), thus He could be resurrected with purity. In His death and resurrection, a new humanity was established which all people can partake of by receiving the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ.
It is by God’s love for us that Jesus went to the cross to die and be resurrected. In His love for us, He laid down His life. In the same way, we lay down our lives in two ways – one sacrificing ourselves for others in love to them – not necessarily to the point of death, but in service; and the other, by dying to our old self and being made new so that we can be like Him.