What Does 1 John 3:23 Mean?

This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 3:23(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

When asked what was the greatest commandment during Christ's earthly, pre-cross ministry one scribe gave the perfect, answer: Love God with all your heart and he added.. love Your neighbour as yourself. Jesus commended this scribe for both the Law and the Prophets are dependent upon these two commands. Indeed Paul reminds us that such godly love is the fulfilment of the Law. But John takes this truth and combines it into Christ's new command:- this is My commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you.

It is during this post-cross period that we who are saved by grace through faith in Christ are commanded to fulfil this sublime instruction to 'love', in the same selfless way that Christ loved us. So exalted is Christ's new command to Christians that it surpasses our human understanding and is a humanly impossibility - unless we abide in Him and He in us - for without Christ we can do nothing. We are wretched men indeed if we seek to carry out this command (or indeed any of God's commandments) in our own strength. Jesus said: without Me you can do nothing - but thank God, that we can do all things through Christ, who enables us.

John is often called the apostle of love and throughout His gospel and epistles we see him explain how to obey Christ's singular and impossible commandment to the coming Church.. how to live as Christ lived; how to love as Christ loved - how to the fulfil the all important instructions that Christ gave to the early church through His New Testament apostles and prophets.. for it is only through the new, born-again life in Christ, which we receive at salvation, through which His love can manifest itself in our lives. It is only a man who walks in spirit and truth and in utter dependence on the leading, guidance, training and correction of the indwelling Holy Spirit that bring forth this spiritual fruit of godly love.

This is His commandment, John writes in this verse that we: 1) believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, AND 2) love one another, just as He commanded us. And John continues in the following verse: the one who keeps His commandments (i.e. - 1. believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and 2. love as He loves) abides in Him, and He in him, and we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us.

John tells us clearly what the commandments of Christ are for the Church 1) believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and 2) Love as Christ loved. We are to believe on Christ's sacrificial work on the cross and love as He loved in order to fulfil His commandments. We are to be 1) saved by grace through faith and then 2) live by grace through faith in Christ (i.e. abide in Him and He in us) - in order to be able to love as Christ loved and thus fulfil His commands.

In John 15 he explains how to obey the commandments of Christ. We are to abide in Christ: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much spiritual fruit (godly love), for apart from Me you can do nothing.. apart from me You cannot LOVE as I have loved And the one who does this.. abides in Him and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that even while I was a sinner Christ died for me and by believing on the name of Your only begotten Son, Who died on the cross for me and rose the third day.. I have been brought into Your family. I pray that I may learn to abide in Christ and He in me so that I may love as Christ loved and bring forth the fruit of love in my life - for God and for others, to Your praise and glory. This I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.

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