You may have seen some special billboards around the country. They are on a black background with white lettering and are simple messages… Signed simply – God. One of them says something like “Have you read my book? There will be a test. – God” If you have even the basic understanding of God and Satan, good and evil, heaven and hell, you know that everyone will face a “final exam” before the throne of God one day. Those who “pass” enter into their eternal rest; those “failing” will enter eternal torment.
As sobering as that is, we have another means of testing ourselves. You can take a pop quiz, you might say, before the final. In 1 John, chapter 3, verse 10 we see that the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. One indicator is that an individual not practicing righteousness is not of God. That’s fairly obvious. But John also says the one who does not “love” his brother is not a child of God either. This love is the love that “esteems others” or puts ourselves in a position lower than our brother.
John goes on to say in verse 15, everyone who hates his brother does not have eternal life. Hate does not always mean a “strong dislike” or “detest” indicated by strong emotion. In scripture it often is indicated by “loving less” which is seen by individual’s putting themselves above others. In this sense they love themselves more than they do others.
Loving others must be evident. It means that we put our words into action, as John refers to in verse 18. If we truly love our brother (neighbor) we will sacrifice whatever necessary to meet their needs. How did you do on your “pop quiz?” How do you feel you are doing in your love for others? Do you love just as Christ loved you?
Copyright © 2003, Nolan P. Rutter