Hence, John goes on to ask why Cain murdered his brother; and his answer is that it was because his works were evil and his brother’s were good. Then he drops the remark: “Do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you.”
An evil man will instinctively hate a good man. Righteousness always provokes hostility in the minds of those whose actions are evil. The reason is that the good man is a walking rebuke to the evil man, even if he never speaks a word to him, his life passes a silent judgment. Socrates was the good man par excellence; Alcibiades was brilliant but erratic and often dishonest. He used to say to Socrates: “Socrates, I hate you, because every time I meet you, you have shown me what I am.”
Learn here that sins of the heart are damning, as well as sins of the life; a man may be an adulterer in the sight of God, and yet never touch a woman (Matthew 5:28); an idolator and yet never bow his knee to an image (Ephesians 5:5), a murderer, and yet never hurt his brother; if he hates him in his heart, it is recorded as murder in God’s account
Additionally, the sad and deplorable condition of such as are guilty of this sin, namely, of murdering their brother by hatred in their hearts: “He that hateth his brother, abideth in death, and hath not eternal life abiding in him,” (1 John 3:14-15). That is to say that he or she have no spiritual life, nothing of the life of grace abides in that person, which is the seed and principle, the original and beginning of life.
On the other hand, the life of grace in the heart of a regenerate person, is the beginning and first principle of a life of glory, whereof they cannot but be destitute who hate their brother in their hearts. So much hatred in a man, so much death; and so much want of love, brings so much want of life.
Observe also the inference with which the apostle draws from Christ’s love in laying down his life for us, namely, that we therefore ought to lay down our lives for the brethren: That is, in a time of persecution, when the glory of God, the edification of the church, and the eternal salvation of our brethren, do require it, and stand in need of it: We must never stick at laying down our lives when God calls us to it, as needful for better ends than our lives. It is not needful that we live, but needful and necessary that we glorify God, both in life and death.
Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.