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. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
Continuing from verse 10, John reminds us as Christians that since the beginning of our salvation we have known to love each other. God has written His laws on the hearts of men, and when we sin, we acknowledge there is something wrong and yet we continue. “14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” – Romans 2
Understanding that John has written this letter to believers, he gives example as to what we have come away from, and what we shall never go back to. Again he gives a sort of proof test for those who are now in the family of God. In verse 12 the apostle tells us to not be like Cain. Going back to Genesis we know that Cain was the first born of Adam and Eve. He despised his younger brother Able because Able’s gifts to God were considered righteous, while his gifts were not looked upon with favor. Able’s acceptance by God triggered jealousy inside Cain. This jealousy rendered hatred and turned into murder.
“What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” – Mark 7
Because of Able’s favor with God, Cain hated him. As John states in verse 13, we should not be surprised by the hatred of the world towards us. We have found favor in the eyes of God, and though they reject Him, internally they desire His acceptance. This causes a hatred towards us, His children, who have gained acceptance. If your heart holds contempt and hatred for a brother or sister in Christ you need to examine it. The apostle states in verse 14 that we can be sure we have passed over into new life with Christ if indeed we love our ‘siblings’. The ill thoughts are passing, and the thoughts of wanting to be at peace with those who cause us strife are maturing. It is this desire to love one another that should be present inside of us.
In verse 15 we see the summation of this thought. If you hate a child of God, you are not a child of God. Though Cain brought gifts to God, he was not considered righteous. The gifts he brought were out of a need of acceptance, not out of reverence for God. Jealousy against a fellow believer is not of God. Our worship to Him and the gifts we bring should be out of a desire to please Him, and not to out-do someone else. God is only pleased with us when we come humbly before Him, whether our gifts are small or great, He looks at our hearts to determine righteousness.
“12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6
Lord’s Day 5
Since, according to God’s righteous judgment
we deserve temporal and eternal punishment,
how can we escape this punishment
and be again received into favour?
God demands that his justice be satisfied. 1
Therefore we must make full payment,
either by ourselves or through another. 2
Can we by ourselves make this payment?
On the contrary, we daily increase our debt. 1
Can any mere creature pay for us?
In the first place,
God will not punish another creature
for the sin which man has committed. 1
no mere creature can sustain
the burden of God’s eternal wrath against sin
and deliver others from it. 2
What kind of mediator and deliverer
must we seek?
One who is a true 1
and righteous 2
and yet more powerful than all creatures;
that is, one who is at the same time true God. 3