The Proof is in the Pudding
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13)
I have continued to be captivated by this verse over the days. The comments that were left in the post below have really affected my thoughts.
The statement from Jesus needs to be looked at plainly. He says something to his disciples. He say YOU ... by this love will all men know YOU ... by this will all men know something about YOU ... they will know a characteristic of YOU.
Let's think about the neagtive aspect of the verse. Could it be that the world will know something in reverse about US? Does He say, "By this will all men know that you are not my disciple, if you don't have love toward one another?" He absolutely does not say such a thing. It is a bad interpretation. (They have a name for that kind of drawing of a false conclusion from a statement, but I can't think of what it is.)
Would this be a better negative application: "Men will not know that you are my disciple, if you don't have love toward one another?" I think this better represents the statement in the negative.
I really think this verse has a lot to do with illusatrating our faith, with presenting ourselves to the onlookers all around us. The thrust of the statement is positive, and this should be the focus - LOVE ONE ANOTHER! This love gives the world something to see that endorses our words. If we love one another, all men will be shown that we mean what we say as we share God's Word.
The negative aspect goes right along with James' teaching on having a faith without works - it is kind of like hiding a light under a basket. Being Christ's own and not loving our brothers is like having faith without works. What can it accomplish for those who are looking for direction in the night? They can't see a light hidden under a barrel. They can't see the difference Christ makes if we are not walking in the works of the Spirit, the love of God.
When I posted the verse, honestly, I had not been inspired or prompted by the "Lordship Debate" (which some say is over, even though I see it discussed on many blogs and among Christians I know.) I was not thinking about "Lordship Salvation Teaching" at all last week.
Actually, this was my inspiration for thinking about that passage and bringing it to the Reasoning table: I was reeling from a sense of a "lack of love" brought on by a certain situation with some church members ... gossiping and criticising someone I really care about. It was upsetting ... and I thought, "How is this different than the way the world treats one another?" Then, when Levi came, the opposite was demonstrated as brothers and sisters from EBC brought us meals for 2 weeks after his birth! What care! My unsaved family could see that faith that our church family has in their love for us. (I know bringing a meal is not laying down your life for someone, but it sure helps when your family is going through big adjustments like a birth, or a severe illness, or a death.)
What are your thoughts?