“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us–and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?” (I John 3:16 – 17)
The early Christian church – it was a different time and a different way of thinking. Possession meant little because believers look forward to a time when this life and this world would come to an end. And a new life and way of living would be the reality. Christianity retains some of this type of thinking; but it is deeper and more established in some faith circles than in others. And surviving until the new heaven and new earth come became more prevalent thinking than how one should set up one’s life in anticipation. Maybe it was because that “anticipation” for the early church never came to fruition (if the continuum of history from then until now is a reality). The writer of I John stakes all that he knows on the coming of the anticipated return of Jesus Christ.
“Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (Verses 18 – 20)
I was pleasantly surprised with the middle portion of the above passage. It has a measure of grace and mercy that I had not seen previously. The New Living Translation states verse 20 this way – “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. “ What a gift that we who believe do not have to fear if we feel we are unworthy. The Divine knows our inner selves. And the Divine knows our true intentions. Now, that may be a good thing, or a not so good thing, beloved reader.
“Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.” (Verses 21 – 24)
It does not occur to the writer of I John that those who believe in Jesus Christ and the Lord God would do anything that would separate them from Jesus Christ and the Lord God. I guess that is why even if we feel guilty, we should not worry because our acceptance is assured. Oh, beloved reader! That we could live out that faith with a strong and courageous heart! Shalom & Selah!