“Love, Don’t Talk” (1 John 3:18 HCSB) by Carley Evans


Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

My little sons, love we not in word, neither in tongue, but in work and truth. (Wycliffe)

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (King James Version)

Jesus says exactly the same thing as His disciple says. Jesus says that the least kindness you show to the least is a kindness you show to Him – if you visit the prisoner, you visit Jesus. If you feed the homeless man, you feed Jesus. If you adopt the orphan, you adopt our Lord. And so on.

If we talk love but never show love, then the love of God is not in us. Worse, if we talk love and show hate, then our spirit is not of the Holy Spirit but of our own corrupted nature. We are like pigs remaining in our own mud and corn husks.

God calls us to love in action, not in talk.

“The One Who Remains in Love” (1 John 4:16, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Real love, genuine agape love is unconditional, period. If you doubt this truth, re-read Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth. He boldly tells the church – a church battling crippling sins – that “love is kind” and “keeps no record of wrongs.”

And in his first letter, John writes:

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.

John doesn’t write, “The one who remains in God remains in love.” Rather, he turns it on its heels and states emphatically that “the one who remains in love remains in God.” You cannot hate people who you are able to see and touch while you claim to love God. You can not refuse to forgive others while expecting God to forgive you. Frankly love and hate are like oil and water – incompatible in the mix.

You can not be a Christian and hate people.

“In This Thing?” ( 1 John 4: 8-10, Wycliffe Bible (WYC)) by Carley Evans


Jesus Christ Crucifix

“In this thing?” What thing is this? Is the author using this phrase for emphasis, akin to “thing is…” or “see here…” or “verily, verily…” as used by Jesus Himself? Is this why the New International Version completely eliminates this carrier phrase? Or does the author mean “in Christ” when he states “in this thing”?

8 He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is charity.

9 In this thing the charity of God appeared in us, for God sent his one begotten Son into the world, that we live by him.

10 In this thing is charity, not as we had loved God, but for he first loved us, and sent his Son forgiveness for our sins [and sent his Son helping for our sins].

If we do not love others, we don’t know God for God is charity. God is love. In Christ, the charity of God appears in us because God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world. In Christ is love. God first loves us in Christ. He sent His Son so as to forgive us our sins. And, we live by Him.

“We Know And Believe The Love” ( 1 John 4: 16, KJV ) by Carley Evans


One of the saddest personality flaws is the inability to know and believe that you are loved. Janis Joplin had such a personality flaw; she was incapable of believing people loved her. Despite accolades for her music, she lead a barren existence of self-doubt, self-hatred, and abject loneliness. By loneliness, I am not referring to solitude, but to that feeling of complete isolation in the midst of shouting people — people shouting adoration and respect and yes — love. The loneliest moments for Janis were likely those in the midst of her public admirers. Janis also unfortunately did not know and believe the love of those closest to her, no matter how they tried to convince her. She found herself totally unlovable.

The author of 1 John writes that “we know and believe the love that God has to us. God is love.”

What an amazing statement — read it again. “We know and believe the love that God has to [or toward] us.” Why? Because “God is love.” And if we know and believe God, then we know and believe His love. Like Paul reminds, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) Essentially, assures Paul, nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)

Do not insult God. Do not hold yourself in such low esteem that you fail to realize God is love. Know and believe the love God has toward you! His love does not depend upon you; His love is wholly dependent upon the sacrifice of His Son.

“Faith Active In Love” ( 1 John 3: 18, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“My children,” writes the author of 1 John, “love must not be a matter of words or talk; it must be genuine and show itself in action.”

James writes, “My brothers, what use is it for a man to say he has faith when he does nothing to show it? Can that faith save him? Suppose a brother or a sister is in rags with not enough food for the day, and one of you says, ‘Good luck to you, keep yourself warm, and have plenty to eat’, but does nothing to supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So with faith; if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.” (James 2:14-17) He tells us, “The kind of religion which is without stain or fault in the sight of God is this: to go to the help of orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself untarnished by the world.” (James 1:27)

Paul writes, “The only thing that counts is faith active in love.” (Galatians 5:6) He warns, “I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2)

Love is not a lifeless thing. Although kind words are involved, love is primarily action directed for the benefit of our fellow humankind. Love looks for opportunities to show others the same love God shows to us. Therefore, says Paul: “Put love first.” (1 Corinthians 14:1) After all, love is everlasting.

“No New Command; Yet Again New” ( 1 John 2: 6 – 8, NEB ) by Carley Evans


The author of the letter 1 John offers us a test — a test of whether “we are in Him,” who is Christ the Lord. If we “claim to be dwelling in Him” then we “bind [ourselves] to live as Christ Himself lived.” And, in living as Christ lived, we will follow what the author refers to as “no new command. It is the old command you always had before you; the old command is the message which you heard at the beginning. And yet again it is a new command that I am giving you — new in the sense that the darkness is passing and the real light already shines. Christ has made this true.”

 

“Only the man who loves his brother dwells in the light; there is nothing to make him stumble.” (1 John 2: 10-11)

 

The darkness which is passing is hatred — hatred of God, of self, of neighbor, of brother and sister, of strangers, of the world God has created. If we hate, then we necessarily dwell in darkness. “The one who hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in the dark and has no idea where he is going, because the darkness has made him blind.” (1 John 2:11)

 

The darkness which is passing is blinding — hatred of God, of self, of neighbor, of brother and sister, of strangers, of the world God has created makes us sightless, wandering about directionless and literally lost.

 

“Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it.” (1 John 2:18) Instead, set your hearts on “the real light [which] alr

“He Himself Is The Remedy” ( 1 John 2: 2, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“My children, in writing thus to you my purpose is that you should not commit sin. But should anyone commit a sin, we have one to plead our cause with the Father, Jesus Christ, and He is just. He is Himself the remedy for the defilement of our sins, not only our sins only but for the sins of all the world.” (1 John 2: 1 – 2)

Yes, we sin. And, sin defiles us. But, a greater truth exists: Jesus is the remedy for our sin and defilement. Both are destroyed on the Cross.

“God’s act of grace is all out of proportion to Adam’s wrongdoing,” writes Paul. “For the judicial action, following upon the one offense, issues a verdict of condemnation, but the act of grace, following upon so many misdeeds, issues a verdict of acquittal.” (Romans 5: 15, 16)

Acquittal, a verdict of not-guilty, is the gift of Jesus Christ to those who believe.

“The conclusion of the matter is this: there is no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus, for in Christ Jesus the life-giving law of the Spirit sets you free from the law of sin and death. What the law can never do, because our lower nature robs it of all potency, God does: by sending His own Son in a form like that of our own sinful nature, and as a sacrifice for sin, He passes judgment against sin within that very nature, so that the commandment of the law finds fulfillment in us, whose conduct, no longer under the control of our lower nature, is directed by the Spirit.” (Romans 8: 1 – 4)

God’s Spirit within us directs us. “Thanks be to God! In a word, then, I myself, subject to God’s law as a rational being, am yet, in my unspiritual nature, a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 25)

The only rescue, the final remedy is Jesus.

“If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. If we confess our sins, He is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong; but if we say we have committed no sin, we make Him out to be a liar, and then His Word has no place in us.” (1 John 1: 8 – 10)

Not Qualified To Judge ( Romans 2: 1, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


One of the most difficult aspects of the Christian walk is refraining from judging others. Paul states that he does not even judge himself; he puts that ‘on hold’ until the coming of the Lord Jesus at which time all men are to be judged by the One True Judge, even God Himself. Until then, we are called to “judge not” by Jesus Christ and by His apostle, Paul.

Paul challenges us to recognize that we are not qualified to judge ourselves or one another. “For when [we] judge another, [we] condemn [ourselves], since [we], the judges, do the same things.” When we set up ourselves as judges, we are actually judging the Law and the Lawgiver, who is God. Who are we to judge the law and the One True Judge?

“You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” (Romans 2: 23) If you claim that you do not break the law and so you are qualified to judge others, you are both lying to yourself and to God. (1 John 1: 8)

“Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may be subject to God’s judgment. For no one is justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.” (Romans 3: 19 – 20)

Recognize sin in yourselves — and of course in others — but realize that Jesus died so that we are not judged or judging, but are rather set free from the law of sin and death.

“The one who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1 John 2: 10)

Amen!

“Here Is The Test” (1 John 2: 3, NEB) by Carley Evans


What are God’s commands? Are they difficult?

Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Then He tells us to take up our crosses and follow Him, denying ourselves daily. He reminds us that once we put our hand to the kingdom we must not look back at our past — either in longing or regret.

Jesus commands us to love the Lord our God with all our being — our hearts, our minds, our bodies — and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

The author of 1 John writes, “Here is the test by which we can make sure that we know Him: do we keep His commands? The man who says, ‘I know Him’, while he disobeys His commands, is a liar and a stranger to the truth; but in the man who is obedient to His Word, the divine Love has indeed come to its perfection.” (1 John 2: 3 – 5)

And, he writes that “here is the test by which we can make sure that we are in Him: whoever claims to be dwelling in Him, binds himself to live as Christ Himself lived.” (1 John 2: 6)

What is the command we are to follow? We are to “love [our] brother,” so “there is nothing to make [us] stumble.” (1 John 2: 10 – 11) Nothing is able to make us stumble as we commit to live as Christ lived.

Live a life of love, and so make sure you are dwelling in Christ.

“The Liar” (1 John 2: 22, NEB) by Carley Evans


“Who is the liar?” asks the writer of 1 John.

The liar is the one who denies that Jesus is God.

Who is the father of liars, of lies? Our great adversary who gave up his place in heaven to rule in hell, per Milton in PARADISE LOST is the father of lies, of liars. Satan tells the great lie to Eve and Adam, promising them they can be as gods if they disobey God. The cost of believing this lie is immeasurable.

People are deceived. People do prefer to live in darkness so the light does not show their deeds — which are deeds of the darkness, and not of the light. (John 3: 19 – 20)

Satan likes keeping people in the darkness, lest they see the light and prefer it. Hence, Satan lies about everything, keeping people in confusion as they try to figure out what is the truth. Satan’s favorite lie is the one of the anti-Christ — the one which tells the world that Jesus is a good teacher, but not the Son of God, not the expected Messiah of Israel, not the only way to paradise — that is, eternal life in the very presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is a good teacher, says Satan. Pay attention to him, follow his rules, believe his little parables, but do not commit your self to him, do not believe he saves you. For this belief is foolishness. Satan lies.