I don’t want to belabor this point in every entry on 1 John, but I feel the need to address it again quickly because, well, John addresses it again. But once I address this first item, I’ll move on to another topic.
Here’s the first item: John makes it pretty clear that those who make a practice of sin are not of God. But those who make a practice of righteous deeds and good acts are from God. That isn’t to say anyone who follows Jesus is perfect. It’s that their habits, their lifestyle, their modus operandi is good acts, righteous living, fruits of the Spirit.
Now that we’re clear on that, let’s talk about love. Love is a topic that comes up again and again in the letter of 1 John. He writes,
For this is the original message we heard: We should love each other.
Paul said it in his letters. Jesus said it in his ministry. The prophets said it in their proclamations. God said it in the Law, in Torah. So this isn’t a new message. It’s just saying it again, perhaps in a different or fresh way.
John says later that anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead. To say it another way, love is what gives life meaning. Without love, life isn’t worth living.
And John is very clear that love isn’t a word, a noun, or some abstract concept. Love is a verb. It’s something that must be acted on. Love acts. Let’s not talk about it and theorize about it; let’s actually do it. Practice love.
As Bob Goff says, “Love does.”
How’s that look? We’ll explore that in the next entry.