This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse. (Here is the link to the beginning of the Series: I John Introduction.)
Yesterday's post summarized I John 3:16-17. Here is the summary:
John has begun explaining his definition for love. So far, we have drawn these conclusions:
1. LOVE is QUANTITATIVE! There can be GREATER and LESSER loves. The GREATEST LOVE is when a person lays down his life for his friends. Jesus said this.
2. LOVE is AN ACTION! In John's example it is laying down one's life. Notice, there is NOTHING that is mentioned that concerns a feeling or an emotion. People who state that love is a feeling or an emotion are making the Word of God of NONE EFFECT. They are focused on APPEARANCE. They are in disagreement with Jesus.
3. More specifically, it looks like LOVE at the minimum involves GIVING. John stated NOT GIVING to a believer in need (when one has the capacity to give) was an example of NOT LOVING.
Today's post will continue with John's definition for love. It is a simple, yet powerful verse...
I JOHN 3:18
"18 My Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth."
There is A LOT in this one verse...
First of all, John begins this section with "My little children..." We have seen that John does this with passages that EVERY believer OUGHT to UNDERSTAND because John is SPECIFICALLY addressing the NEW BELIEVER. If they can UNDERSTAND what is being stated, then EVERY believer can UNDERSTAND it.
Second, John states that we should NOT love in word, neither with the tongue. This is a contrastive point relative to the verses that immediately preceded this verse. Yesterday's post showed that AT THE MINIMUM love is a quantitative ACTION that involves GIVING. The verse immediately preceding today's verse states that an example of NOT LOVING (contrastive example) is when a person has the capacity to help a believer in need and does NOT GIVE. So today's verse continues this contrastive point by stating that even the newest believer ought to realize that WRITING (WORD) or SAYING (TONGUE) something is NOT love. Love is NOT an emotion. In fact, the rest of the verse PROVES this!
Third, the verse ends with John stating that we OUGHT to love in DEED and TRUTH.
DEED IS AN ACTION! Deeds can be Profitable. There is NO MENTION of emotion relative to the word "deed".
A reader (Dave Taube) points out that Truth is ALSO an ACTION. We saw John write this previously in I John 1:6: "6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
TRUTH is PROFITABLE. We have seen that Truth is a Right WHAT with a Right HOW/WHY.
This verse more SPECIFICALLY states the Right WHAT of love: GIVING.
However, John has NOT SPECIFICALLY stated the Right HOW/WHY. John has begun addressing the HOW/WHY by stating that the HOW/WHY of love OUGHT to create. We know the ONLY way to create is with a Right HOW/WHY.
In yesterday's post, we saw that John agreed with Jesus' explanation for love. Today. let's look at the beginning of Paul's most famous passage concerning love...
I Corinthians 13
"1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
Notice, Paul states that doing the following things WITHOUT LOVE is NOT Profitable:
-SPEAKING (words and tongue)
-HAVING ALL KNOWLEDGE
-LAYING DOWN HIS LIFE
CLEARLY, Paul is stating that LOVE is something MORE than these actions alone. All four of these ACTIONS are Right WHAT's. However, Paul is SPECIFICALLY stating that GIVING WITHOUT LOVE is NOT Profitable. Said another way, Paul is stating that GIVING with a Wrong (OR NO) HOW/WHY is NOT LOVE.
John has added more to his definition of love. So far we know:
LOVE is a QUANTITATIVE ACTION that SPECIFICALLY involves GIVING.
LOVE is Profitable.
LOVE is a Right WHAT (giving) with a Right HOW/WHY. However, John has not explained the Right HOW/WHY yet.
Tomorrow, we will look at a section that some Calvinists twist to justify predestination...