By this we know that we love, because He laid down his life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (v16).
This is a higher level of love. Just like Jesus told his disciples that their righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees, our own love as born again believers have only one yardstick- the sacrifice of Jesus. He is the author of the faith. He sets the tone of the race, his examples are our pattern. He laid down his life for us, he expects us to do no less for the brethren.
We usually congratulate ourselves whenever we do a little favour for fellow brethren and think we’ve done so well. This morning we are being told that we ought to love even to the point of laying down our lives for others. It’s not enough to give out fringe benefits or leftovers that we have no need for. It is expected that we should give the best of our substance, our time and talents not for expectation of any selfish gain but for the betterment of the brotherhood and the kingdom of God.
If our hearts condemn us, God’s greater than our hearts and knows all things(v20 ).
This message could be likened to Paul’s teaching in Romans 14:14-23. We’re enjoined to do certain things to preserve the faith of a weak brother. We don’t do these things because they are sinful but for the sake of another person’s conscience which have been trained to believe those things to be wrong we refrain.
Now God does not condemn what we have done but it could cost someone their salvation.
The word of God remains the only standard – for measuring our actions. He is bigger than our conscience for conscience is trained by environmental values which we were already exposed to before we met God.