“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our live for the brothers.” 1 John 3:14-16 ESV
My two boys are more than eight years apart; and nonetheless, fight with each other like sumo wrestlers. The three-year-old thinks he’s going on twelve, and the twelve-year-old sometimes acts like he’s three again. One of the lessons I’m teaching them right now is to love one another out of a love of God.
Being a single parent is one of the hardest most challenging tasks someone could ever be called to… It’s like trying to skate with only one skate or like attempting to jog a marathon with a crutch. I often find myself on the floor. However, that is where, by God’s grace, I am continually brought down to my knees and to God’s Word for help! 1 John has been a source of great fatherly weight and wisdom to bear on my boys as they are reminded that to love God they must love each other.
Their Daddy also left a mark for them with his words penned on a commentary he used to preach the entire book of 1 John verse-by-verse, that sticks out in bold ink, “Abel brought a blood sacrifice, Cain brought a fruit sacrifice. Anger and jealousy led to murder. Cain said, ‘God you want a blood sacrifice, I’ll give you one…’” (Josh Seibert) As I pass down these truths to my children I am reminded of the importance of overcoming anger with love as a witness of Christ for the gospel. “A new commandment I give onto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:33-35
A Christian parent’s deepest aspiration for our precious children is to ultimately see them come to saving faith. We do our best to show them the truth of Christ; and only through His Spirit does God accomplish the transforming work of salvation through the Word of God and faith in Christ alone. Whether single parents, first generation Christian parents, or one married to a non-believer–in Christ, we can all attain the privilege of passing on a godly heritage. Like Timothy’s grandmother and mother, we can pass on our faith to our children, grandchildren and spiritual children by teaching them the Word and making its truth come alive best through our example of love, like that of Jesus’ not only toward them, but toward one another.
“The selfish indifference of unbelievers stands in sharp contrast to the generous compassionate love that believers exhibit. In place of those sinful traits, Christians manifest genuine love to others, especially fellow believers, because the love of God shed abroad in their hearts. They sincerely obey James’s injunction; ‘Pure and undefiled religion is the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.’” John MacArthur