In this the children of God are manifest,and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore,slew he him? Because his own works were evil,and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not,my brethren,if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life,because we love the brethren.He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no, murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. I John 3:10-15
As Christians, we are to identify with the love of Christ. Jesus declared this to be the defining mark of discipleship. This text would lead us to understand that righteousness and love are connected. Someone who does not love their brother is not righteous.
From the very beginning, it has been God’s desire that those who are created in His image love one another. Man was made with a capacity to love that no other creature possesses and yet, we often make ourselves the focus of that love rather than others. The only thing that will ever keep me from loving God and others as I should is self-love. Self-love that is ambitious, selfish, proud, defensive and easily offended, will always prevent us from obeying God’s commands to love others.
In these verses, hatred is identified with death. This world that is in the process of dying as we speak hates us just as it hated Christ. However, the transformation from death unto life that all believers experience awakens within us the ability to love.
There are times when a person can have such an absence of love in their heart, that they can have murderous feelings toward their brother. This is an indication that the person does not have a relationship with God. No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
Love can only be found in the dimension of eternal life. It is not passive in our lives. It cannot remain sealed up in our hearts, but is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit.
If love is in us, it will be demonstrated.