What Does 1 John 3:18 Mean?

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

1 John 3:18(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

A godly character that reflects the likeness of Christ is one that loves others as Christ loved us. The love about which the Bible speaks is different from every other type of human love, and is uniquely imparted to the child of God, from the indwelling Spirit of truth and love.

The Lord Jesus laid down His life for His friends.. and for His enemies. He sacrificed His life for US, and we are instructed to do the same for others. We are directed to lay down our lives, in sacrificial love for our fellow men.

It is comparatively easy to love in word and tongue. It is reasonably simple to say I love you to other people, but the test of genuine love is expressed in deed and in truth.

It is not simply expressing affection through what we say, but through the giving up of ourselves for the service of others, no matter what the cost, in time, money, reputation – and even life itself.

It is a ‘dying to self’ and a ‘living for Christ’, which is manifest in works of righteousness for the benefit of others – and to the greater glory of God. It is dying to our own self-interest and letting the beauty and love of the Lord Jesus be seen in us – so that it flows out to others, in our actions and attitude.

To love in word is contrasted with loving in deed. It is translating one’s affectionate words into meaningful, practical deeds, through the sufficient grace of God. The former is to talk about caring, while the latter is to express unconditional love, in action.

To love in tongue is contrasted with loving in spirit and in truth. The former is an insincere and artificial affection, while the latter is a genuine godly love, that is manifest in a life that cares for the concerns of others before one’s own needs or wishes.

Make no mistake – to love in deed and in truth is not something that we can do for ourselves, however hard we try! We cannot love in deed and in truth through a training programme, mental exertion or fleshly effort. To love in deed and in truth is a supernatural love, that comes directly from God Himself, and can only be manifested in the life of a born-again believer – who is walking in spirit and truth.

Loving in spirit, in word, in deed and in truth is evidenced in the life of one who has died to the self-life, abides in Christ and is able to say with the apostle Paul – it is not I that live my life, but Christ, Whose life is in me and living through me.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that I am Your child, and that Christ died to pay the price for my sin. Thank You that He rose again so that I have been made a new creation in Christ – and received my new life in Him. May the love of the Lord Jesus so flood and fill my being, that it not only flows out to others in thought and word, but in spirit, in truth – and in my every action and attitude. This I ask in Jesus name AMEN.

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