Saturday, July 25, 2009

I John 3:10-13- Human and Divine love linked

(Cain and Abel Ghent altarpiece 1432)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

7/26- I John 3:10-13 Love One Another
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Those who do not do what is right are not God's children; nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters. 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.(TNIV)

Calvin abridged: 3:10- “Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children.” – To do righteousness and to sin are here put in opposition to each other. Righteousness is a perfect keeping of the law (the faithful are always far from this); Yet because offenses and failings are not imputed to the faithful [they are imputed to Christ instead], righteousness is the imperfect obedience which the faithful render to God. To do righteousness is to fear God from the heart and to walk in his commandments as far as human weakness will permit. John declares that everyone who does not live righteously are not of God, because all that God calls, he regenerates by his Spirit. So newness of life is a sign of God’s adoption. “nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.” The love of God holds the first place, but as the love of humans depends on it, the two are intertwined. Then John declares that everyone who is benevolent toward humanity is just because love fulfills the law. He confirms this saying by noting that this has been taught from the beginning.
3:12 “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother”- He starts off in the negative- for in the reprobate hatred reigns, and it holds the chief place in their life- Cain is given as an example. He also gives the faithful consolation as at length he says, “do not be surprised if the world hates you.” People think wrongfully about how to live, because they thought holiness is simply doing good, and they torment themselves with trifling matters they think of themselves doubly acceptable to God, but this is just superstition. Let us remember that human love for brothers and sisters, as it proceeds from the love of God as an effect from a cause, is not separated from it, but is evidence of our love to God. By saying that Cain was driven to kill his brother, he shows that when unbelief rules, hatred occupies the first place. He speaks of Abel’s righteous works, that we may learn to endure persecution with patience. The world may hate us gratuitously, without any fair reason.

Thoughts: Love of God and love for human beings are linked. Cain’s heart of evil and actions of evil are linked. When God is valued, human beings are valued. When we grow in love for God, we grow in our ability to love one another. This includes love for family members- parents, children, brothers and sisters. In our society as the love of God grows cold, so does the rise in crime and disrespect of human life. Gangs (as an example) do not exactly have love for God or love for human life.

Prayer: Lord, help us to grow in love for you and also each other.

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