I John 3:16-24 is about love in action. In the past few decades people have rightfully noted that love is a verb.
Simply saying, or writing it on a greeting card is not enough.
It gets complicated
It’s certainly safe to say that live is a noun but the evidence of it is full out verb-a-rific.
In this we know his love toward us, for he gave himself for us. And it is also right for us to give ourselves for our brothers.I John 3:16
Laying down our lives, helping a brother in need? This is how we love in deed, and in truth. We all know when we are loved. We can tell in our hearts. Sadly, we there is a deception in our hearts which can draw us to affectionate counterfeits. The world tells us that romance is love, and often goes further to saying that love is romance. This leads to abuse and confusion. I John 3:20 explains a truth that can’t be denied.
If you believe, as I used to, that Torah is done away with, there are two hard sayings in this paragraph of I John 3.
- When we do what pleases God and keep His commands (Torah), we can receive whatever we ask from Him.
- Keeping His commands let’s us remain in Yeshua and Him in us.
Have you heard it said, that you can’t do anything to win God’s favor? Why do we say that?
I guess it has to do with our understanding of favor. Scripture often repeats that The Father is “pleased” with us when we obey His commandments. We could make a distinction between favor and God’s being pleased with us. However, I get the sense that sermons and songs often blend them in the same Vitamix.
Is God Ever Mad?
We all agree on the title of the song and movies, “God’s Not Dead.” But can we all sing a song that affirms God’s not mad? What’s the opposite of “pleased?” Is being not pleased notably different from being mad?
Just ponder it a little. But we have to realize that we can be His children and live outside His will for us as well as being outside His pleasure and favor.
I would say an essential benefit, and function of the Torah is obedience. Have you ever frustrated your child when you had expectations that were not met, but they were not communicated to the child? Imagine being angry that your daughter stayed up until 1 AM before needing to wake up early. Now, imagine if you didn’t tell her that bed time was 10 PM. Imagine that you didn’t tell her that she needed to wake up at 6 AM. If this was the case, you would have zero grounds for being displeased.
Very simply, God has given us instructions for righteousness. Obeying doesn’t make us righteous – well, if we were perfect, we would show it by our righteous living. But since we have dropped that ball more than once, we rest on the righteousness of the perfect one – Messiah.
We imitate His righteous living in order to please the One we love. Don’t you want to please your Father? Don’t you see it worthwhile to please your King? Ask Him. What would He want you to do, to lay down your life?
Yes, there are rewards. He answers our prayers, and He blesses us with His presence.
and everything that we ask, we will receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do pleasing [things] before him.I John 3:22
And he who keeps his commandments is kept by him and he lives in him.I John 3:24
Father in Heaven, be blessed in our hearts and blessed in our deeds. Keep us in your Son by your Spirit. We live you and want to please you. Show us the way. Show us the way. Let our foot stay stable as we walk, as we run the path of life. Amen.