Death to life
If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 1 John 3:14-15 NLT
The natural thing for living beings is to pass from life to death. But for the believers who experienced salvation because of the gospel, they passed from death to life. “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24). This is reassuring for Christians for they were at one point dead because of their sins and transgressions. “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins… that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:1, 5). It is by God’s grace that brought out man from death. John says from the text that because of this spiritual life that God gave us, we are able to love others. The love for our brothers and sisters is our way of expressing gratefulness to God because He saved us. “But a person who has no love is still dead” (1 John 3:14). The child of God passes from death to life but for those who are still dead in sin will remain having hate for others. The spiritual life will produce love and when it is nurtured by having us continually drawn to God, that love flourishes. When the love of God is absent in life, hate will fill the void. Without mentioning the name, John is referring to Cain for it was hatred that fills his heart that led him to kill his brother, Abel. And John is clear “that murderers don’t have eternal life within them” unless they come to repentance and turn in faith to Christ. Paul admitted that at one point in his life, he was dead because of sin. “Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities” (Acts 26:10-11). Yet, when he turned to God in repentance and placed his faith in Christ, he was forgiven. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him… Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1: 12, 14). When a hateful heart opens to the love of Christ, it should become a loving heart.