Actions consistent with profession
Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers and sisters. The one who does not love remains in death. Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. 1 John 3:13-15 CSB
Continuing on the topic of love in action and what it looks like, John reminds the believers, his “brothers and sisters,” that it should not be surprising to be hated by the world. This is a call back to when Jesus was going to ascend into heaven, He stated this fact in John 17:14, speaking to the Father, “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” As Jesus was rejected by the people and crucified, so too will His followers be rejected and face persecution. The world is corrupted due to sin, and is completely opposed to Christ. Therefore, rejection should be expected. John then states that a proof of salvation is the ability to love other believers; “we KNOW that we have passed from death to life (salvation), because we LOVE our brothers and sisters.” We can see this form of obedience in John 8:31, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,” and Mark 12:30-31, “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” As the believer loves the Lord with everything, they will follow His commands expressed in love for their neighbor, brother and sister. As a flip side, John then states that to do the opposite is a potential sign that one is not a follower of Jesus and “remains in death.” Loving others does not come naturally, yet through the transformation of the heart by salvation through Jesus Christ, the ability to love one another is possible. Finally, in verse 15, we see a very strong statement, “Everyone who hates his brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.” Does this mean that every time we may not like to associate with another human being, and we claim to be a believer, we are liars? Not at all. The idea here is like the previous ideas that John wrote about sin, the willing, habitual, unrepentant individual. If someone who claims to be a Christian does harbor hatred against someone with no remorse at all, John is stating that the heart of that individual doesn’t seem to be transformed by Jesus and does not have eternal life residing in them.
Isaac De Guzman