11 “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.” (I John 3:11-13)
What is the core message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The Apostle John set forth the premise that it is the love of God for a fallen and sinful world (John 3:1-16). This love was demonstrated by Jesus Christ’s obedience in dying on the cross in the sinner’s place (Romans 5:8-10). This was done even while sinner’s for whom Christ died were His enemies (Romans 5:10).
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “As noted throughout this epistle, John often repeated the same truths, expanding on them to allow his readers to hear them in new and fresh ways. Each time he presents the same truths in “new” packages, which expand on a particular aspect of their significance or approach the subject from a slightly different angle.”
The natural result of receiving God’s love (John 1:12-13) is that the sinner not only becomes a child of God in position but also in behavior. The most basic behavioral demonstration that an individual is a believer in Christ is a love for other believers (John 15:12; I Peter 1:22-23).
The love of which John speaks is a self-sacrificial love of the will. It is this kind of love which John will address later on in his epistle (I John 4:7-11). John emphasized that what the church heard “from the beginning” (1:1; 2:7, 24) was being attacked by false teachers who were against that which God proclaimed through the apostles.
The contrast to self-sacrificial love of the will is a selfish, self-centered love. This is the antithesis of God’s love. Rather, it is a love that is likened to Cain. John stressed that Cain belonged to the evil one, or the devil. This ownership was demonstrated and proven by Cain’s murdering Abel, his brother. Cain did so because while Abel’s actions before God were righteous, Cain’s were evil. Cain was filled with a jealous fury which resulted in him hating, rather than loving, his brother and God.
It is this type of jealous and irrational hatred that the fallen world has for believers in Christ. The world calls Christians bigots, hate mongers and intolerant. The irony is that the bigotry, hatred and intolerance is displayed by the fallen worldly culture towards the church in general, and the believer in particular.
How may you demonstrate God’s love today? How may you counteract the hatred of the world today? May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!