John drives the point home by providing the most basic example of Christian love.  Our Lord Jesus, we have noted, gave everything that He had, including His own life’s blood, that we might be saved.  It may be that we will never be required to surrender our lives for His sake.  Yet, our Lord accepts even such small offerings as a cup of cold water given in His Name to a disciple.  John points the finger at those who have some earthly means, and asks how they can claim the love of God dwells in them if they shut up their bowels of compassion from a needy brother.  Would it not be better to buy a week’s worth of groceries for a brother whose pantry is empty and who has no income, than to spend that money on a concert or a new book?  We should be willing to give up even the things that we have set our hearts upon, lawful in and of themselves, if that thing would prevent us from helping our brethren in need.  If we cannot do this thing, which is the very smallest, then what right have we to claim that the love of God dwells in us?

Our love, John warns, must be in deed and in truth.  In this he speaks alongside James, who rebuked the hypocrisy of those who would give a word of encouragement to the needy, but give not a penny’s worth of their goods to alleviate their suffering.  We must be willing to spend and be spent in the service of God’s people, if we would love in deed and in truth, and supply the evidence that we are truly born from above.

Advertisements