17 "If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? 18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God" 1 John 3:17-19.
(3:17). John swings from theological truths to application in this verse. He presents a rhetorical question that follows the same thought as the previous verses. The word for “good” means the means and way of life. John says that if a believer who has ample provisions and sees another believer in need and does not help him out, it is not possible for them to have God's love. The Greek phrase is “shutteth up his bowels." Bowels are descriptive of the inner heart or feelings. In other words, those who reject and those who are in genuine need of the physical necessities of life are strangers to God.
(3:18). John addresses the readers as “little children." This is an expression of either fatherly love or a statement of their spiritual condition. Apparently John’s readers had a problem with lip service without actual service. The word for “deed” means work or performance. This verse uses the previous verse as a springboard. After telling the readers that if they do not provide for fellow believers, they do not have eternal life, he adds to the command by telling them to show their love rather than talk about it.
(3:19). John reaches a conclusion for the test of providing for fellow believers. It was a test for genuineness, not an act of earning salvation. The word for “know” means to be acquainted with a person, to know or understand. Our actions give us enlightenment as to whether or not we know God. The word for “assure” means to make confident, free from fear or doubt, to depend upon, or have confidence in. John uses two words to express that the results of this test are absolute, leaving no room for doubt.
Who can you help in need today? How can you show your love by action to others today?