1 John 3:23-24, “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
Today we observe the Apostle John’s reiteration of the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) for New Testament believers. We even see that John sees a division between the first four commandments and the back six commandments.
Now, this is significant for us and it is worth paying attention. John is asserting that Jesus is fully God and is equal with the Father. This was a revolutionary message in the 1st century church and I am amazed at how little people consider it today. Most of the Apostles died for the claim that Jesus is God.
So, how does John express Jesus’ divinity and equality with the Father? He says God’s commandment is that “we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.”
This statement has behind it the weight of everything the Law has to say about our relationship to God. The first four commandments have in view the Trinity- for God is a Trinity. John is saying that everything the Israelites ascribed to God should be ascribed to Jesus because Jesus is God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in view in the Moral Law. In fact, they gave the Moral Law, for they are eternal.
Once we simmer on that for a while, John reiterates that we are also commanded to “love one another”. John knows that love for one another is an overflow of our love for our Trinitarian God. Our love for our neighbor is summarized by the back six commandments. It is implicit in John’s passage here that we cannot say that we love God if we do not actively love one another. Obedience to God’s commands are an evidence that his Spirit (third person of the Trinity) lives in us.
So, as you go throughout your day today meditate on the eternality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Meditate on the quality of your worship of the God who is. From there, move to how your worship of God impacts your love for other people.
Joey Tomlinson (DMin, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a husband, father, and pastor at a local church in Newport News, Virginia. He blogs regularly on broadoakpiety.org and hosts a weekly podcast called The Broad Oak Piety Podcast with another local pastor in the community.