Passed From Death to Life
1 John 3:10-24
Dr. James McGinley used to say, “I'm not to judge you, but I am a fruit inspector.” We ought to be able to find a little fruit on our fellow believers, and in 1 John 3:10, John gives us two clear marks of identification of a true child of God. John says that the important mark of identification is: “whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” he second mark of identification. Do you love other Christians? If you are a child of God, you are going to love other Christians.
We are living in a dying world. Our greatest joy is to know that “we have passed from death unto life.” There is a deep and abiding peace available to God’s children. Have you passed from death not life? Do you possess the peace that only Jesus Christ can give?
The Bible says in 1 John 3:11-24, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous…Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you…We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death…Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him…Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren…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?..My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth…And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him…For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things…Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God…And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight…And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment…And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
In this passage, John continues dealing with two distinct families—the family of God and the family of the devil. The Bible says that “…whatsoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” Then the Lord continues in verse 11, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” We are talking about people who have passed from death unto life.
Is there proof that we have passed from death into life? The Word of God says in verses 11 through 14, “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another…Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous…Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you…We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
The proof that we have passed from death unto life is our love of the brethren. Do you have this proof that you have passed for death unto life? Colossians 1:12-14 says, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light…Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son…In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
We have been delivered from the “power of darkness” into the “kingdom of his dear Son.” God has brought us from something into something.
The Bible tells us in 1 John chapter 3 that we have made a passage from death unto life. We were dead without God and with hope; we were lost and hell-bound; there was nothing we could do to bring ourselves to life.
I believe we can respond to God, but salvation is of the Lord. The passage we go through is a passage from death unto life. We are no longer dead in our trespasses and sins; we now have life in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have eternal life as a present possession. Eternal life is the life of the the Eternal One.
When asked about their salvation, most people immediately begin to think of an experience. We all need this experience of salvation, there is no doubt about it; salvation is instant and complete. Salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. In a split second, we are quickened from the dead; we are made alive by the Spirit of God and regenerated by God’s mighty power. The proof that we have made this passage is not in speaking of a salvation experience; the proof that you and I have made that passage is in our behaviour toward the brethren.
John gives an example of Cain, a child of the devil. The Word of God says that we are not to be as Cain, who was of that wicked one.” That means that Cain was of the devil. The devil was his father.
What is love, and what is hate? If we truly love someone, it is our heart’s desire that this person have the very best. We should understand that the best is in Jesus Christ. When we hate someone, we don't want the very best for that person; we want the worst. Love is not an expression; it is not a word. It can be meaningful only as it is confirmed by deeds. Just to say that you love people is meaningless if there are no deeds.
“Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints” — Colossians 1:4.