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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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1John 3:14,15 Love and Murder

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Love and Murder

 

1John 3:14,15 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

 

Those who have been born of God have already passed from death to life. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." John 5:24

 

The evidence John speaks of here that a person has come to genuine faith in Christ, and has consequently passed from death to life, is their love for fellow Christians. Hatred for fellow Christians is akin to murder - just as John spoke of the Cain as a precedent for such.

 

Murderers, along with many other categories of sinners, do not have eternal life. To name a few: "the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Rev 21:8 Similar lists are found in 1Cor 6:9,10; Eph 5:5,6; Gal 5:19-21

 

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You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’i But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,j that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous . . .
We should try to love everyone as Jesus did love everyone and gave His life for us all. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Learn to love you fellow Christians first and then love everyone else.
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We should also be careful when using the word 'LOVE' because it is a word that the world applies one definition to, and the Bible applies a radically different definition to.

 

In the world, 'love' is closer to reciprocated kindness. At its most worldly optimistic, one might be kind first in hope of later having that kindness reciprocated. For this worldly love, we pat ourselves on the back and think 'what a good thing I have done'.

 

Jesus fires a shot across the bow by saying "If you love those who love you ... Big deal, so what, who cares ... even the worst sinners do that." Congratulations on obtaining that highly prized righteousness of filthy rags. We are as good as those whose deeds God ABHORS!

 

God and Christ define love as costing me something to benefit another. Try being the only righteous man willingly suffering ultimate punishment for a wicked and ungrateful people that are screaming 'Crucify Him' as they mock and jeer your gift on their behalf. That is love.

 

So when a man curses you, bless him. When a brother wrongs you, forgive him. Any time you have a chance to choose between your gain and the well being of a brother, "esteem them more highly than yourself."

 

It has been my observation, that if it costs me nothing (and I am not talking about money), then it probably isn't really love. Love costs me and benefits you. It is a price I gladly pay because it COST HIM, and benefitted me. I cannot repay the debt, I can only pay the love forward.

Edited by atpollard
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1 John 3:14,15 shows how important Jesus's teachings are. A pastor once told me that if one just rely on the ten commandments, then they might believe that as long as they don't resort to murder, it's okay to bear hatred against their brothers. But, as Jesus said, hating our brothers/sisters is already considered murder. That pastor thought me that because of the growing immorality of people, the laws had to be intensified and be elaborated to fit the situations of the people. That's possibly the reason why Jesus expounded what it takes to be called a murderer in the eyes of God.

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As far as the nature of immorality and the lake of fire, when one believes in God...I am always reminded of the story of David. He was an adulterer and a murderer and was still called a man after God's own heart. Does the verse quoted in the original post refer to people who live immorally and are unbelievers or just everyone in general? Same with "all liars" - then it's going to be pretty tricky for any of us to "make it", so to speak.

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Well that is not really a linkage or a comparison that many would think of, at least I do not think so anyway, but it is an interesting point. We must love our fellow Christian, and in the same way as those who murder do not have eternal life, those who hate their Christian brothers also do not have eternal life. When you put it like that it is not too bad, but it certainly shows you the importance of loving our fellow Christians. Interesting passage and discussion, and thanks for sharing.

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