“If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:14-16
(3:14). In this first verse John lays out the first test for a follower of Christ. This test is if we love “the brethren.” These people are fellow believers. I must add that by referring to believers, John is not saying that it is permissible to hate unbelievers. John uses a statement that reveals a total contrast for being saved. The phrase is, “passing from death to life.” The perfect tense is used here to signify that we remain in life once we have passed from death. In other words, there is not a constant movement from one to the other. John goes on further to say that he who loves not his brother still abides in death. This verse and passage deals with salvation, not sanctification.
(3:15). John further elaborates on what the neglect of the command in verse one actually is. He equates hate with murder. Why is this? The scriptures tell us that God desires truth in the inward parts. At the time of the writing of this letter, there were those who taught that one could live in sin and still be a believer. Others taught that one only had to keep the letter of the law and not the spirit. In other words, it was wrong for you to kill someone but hating that person within your own heart and mind was permissible. This is why John says that one who hates and one who kills are equally guilty in the eyes of God.
(3:16). This verse lays out the perfect example by what love is to be measured. John states that we know the love of God because of his demonstration of that love on the cross. How do we know that God loved us? His action on the cross is proof of His love. The word for love is “agape” which is the highest form of love. The Greek language has different forms of the word love, each with different meanings and levels of importance.
In this verse he simply says in order for us to follow in Christ’s example of love we must follow His actions: lay down our lives for one another.