How do we know we love the brethren?

Loving the Brethren

We know that we love the brethren by recognizing the other sons of God through their faith” (1 John 3:14). In 1 John, the love of the believer is contrasted to the hatred of Cain (1 John 3:12). Cain hated Abel because he refused to acknowledge God’s way of justifying sinners, and instead insisted on works righteousness, and refused to recognize God’s acceptance of Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4:3-8). To love the brethren is to acknowledge them as the sons of God in contrast to the antichrists, who hate the brethren, and are of the world, and therefore do not recognize the children of God (1 John 3:10).

To love the brethren is to recognize them as fellow believers in Christ, who have been justified by faith and made children of God (Galatians 3:26-29). Many pastors will say “yes but John says we must love in deed and not in word only.” However in 1 John, he is telling them that the antichrists who are seducing them are taking the way of Cain, and refusing to recognize the sons of God based on their testimony (1 John 3:18, 4:20-21).  In fact, Diotrophes was casting people out of the fellowship who had anything to do with the apostles and also refusing the apostles.  The apostles were essentially homeless and depended on the care of the churches.  To shut the bowels of compassion to them and to the brethren who were associated with them was not only a manifestation of hatred but was dangerous for the believers.  This was during the time of Nero’s persecution where the saints relied on one another for many things to sustain their lives (3 John 1:9-10).

Other relevant scripture references include Romans 12:10, John 13:34-35, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, and Hebrews 13:1-3.

Cain’s Hatred

Cain’s hatred for Abel stemmed from his refusal to acknowledge God’s way of justifying sinners. Instead, Cain insisted on works righteousness and refused to recognize God’s acceptance of him. This led to his hatred for his brother, who had faith in God’s way of salvation. (Genesis 4:3-8)

Acknowledging Brethren as Sons of God

To love the brethren is to acknowledge them as the sons of God. This is in contrast to the antichrists, who hate the brethren and are of the world. The antichrists do not recognize the children of God, but those who love the brethren recognize them as God’s children. (1 John 3:1-2, 1 John 2:18-19, 1 John 4:5-6)

In conclusion, loving the brethren means recognizing them as God’s children. This is shown through their faith in God’s way of salvation and their acceptance of God’s grace. .

Keywords: love, faith, 1 John, Cain, justification, works righteousness, acceptance, antichrists, world, children of God.

I. Loving the brethren

  • A. Recognizing other sons of God through their faith (1 John 3:14-15)
  • B. Contrasted to the hatred of Cain (1 John 3:11-12)
    • 1. Cain hated Abel for refusing to acknowledge God’s way of justifying sinners
      (Genesis 4:3-8)
    • 2. Abel insisted on works righteousness and refused to recognize God’s acceptance of Cain
  • C. Acknowledging brethren as sons of God in contrast to antichrists (1 John 4:3-6)
    • 1. Antichrists hate the brethren
    • 2. Antichrists are of the world and do not recognize the children of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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