“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1 John 3:14 NASB) There is a test that will tell us if we truly share in the life of God. The test is this: do you love the brethren? If you are practicing the love of God, then you can know that you are no longer walking in death but have passed into the life of God. On the other hand, if you are not practicing love, then the word of God is very clear: You are abiding in death. Practicing love is a matter of spiritual life and death.
This truth is made even more plain in 1 John chapter 4. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8 NASB) Only those who walk in love really know God. Many will claim to know the Lord, but the stark reality is this; if we don’t love each other, then no matter what we say or feel, the truth is we don’t know Him. It is not possible to continue in unloving attitudes and actions and also be in a relationship with God, because God is love!
So, if love is this important to God, let us walk in it! Here’s how: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 4:31-5:2 NASB)
Brethren, let’s not deceive ourselves. If we are not practicing these things, then we don’t know God. We are abiding in death. It’s that serious. Are you walking in love?