1 John 3:18 (New King James Version)
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
We are not to love in words or in that we speak but in deed and truth of what we know that which is in evidence of what we can see,touch,hold, feel for if we love in what is spoken we are not living and loving in truths and what has been taught to us by God but by what is of Satin for it is not love from each other but love of money or some other nature in what is spoken
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in
Which though it holds good of love to God, and to Jesus Christ, yet here is to be understood of love to the brethren, as the context shows; and so the Syriac version reads, “let us not love one another in word” that is, without the heart, or with a double heart; speaking one thing with the lip, and designing another thing in the heart; speaking peaceably with the mouth, and with the heart laying wait; or we should not love in this manner “only”; and so the Arabic version of De Dieu adds. It is very lawful, and right to express our love to one another, and to all men in words, to give good words, and use courteous language, and speak in a kind, tender, and affectionate manner, and especially to persons in distress; but this should not be all, it will be of no avail to say to such, be warmed and filled, and give them nothing but these good words, nothing to warm and fill them with; see ( James 2:15 James 2:16 ) ;
but in deed and in truth;
for true love is a laborious and operative grace, hence we read of the work and labour of love; it shows itself by the saints serving one another, in spirituals; as by bearing one another’s burdens, forbearing with, and forgiving one another, praying for each other, and building up one another on their most holy faith; exhorting each other to the duties of religion, and not suffering sins upon one another, but admonish in love, and restore with meekness; and in temporals, distributing to the necessities of the saints, ministering: to them of their worldly substance, and supplying their daily wants: and this is loving “in deed”, or “in work”; this is actual love, love in fact, and what is apparent and evident: and it is “in truth”, when it is in reality, and not in show only; and when it is cordially and heartily done, with cheerfulness, and without grudging.
A godly character that reflects the likeness of Christ is one that loves others as Christ loved us. The love about which the Bible speaks is different from every other type of human love, and is uniquely imparted to the child of God, from the indwelling Spirit of truth and love.
The Lord Jesus laid down His life for His friends.. and for His enemies. He sacrificed His life for US, and we are instructed to do the same for others. We are directed to lay down our lives, in sacrificial love for our fellow men.
It is comparatively easy to love in word and tongue. It is reasonably simple to say I love you to other people, but the test of genuine love is expressed in deed and in truth.
It is not simply expressing affection through what we say, but through the giving up of ourselves for the service of others, no matter what the cost, in time, money, reputation – and even life itself.
It is a ‘dying to self’ and a ‘living for Christ’, which is manifest in works of righteousness for the benefit of others – and to the greater glory of God. It is dying to our own self-interest and letting the beauty and love of the Lord Jesus be seen in us – so that it flows out to others, in our actions and attitude.
To love in word is contrasted with loving in deed. It is translating one’s affectionate words into meaningful, practical deeds, through the sufficient grace of God. The former is to talk about caring, while the latter is to express unconditional love, in action.
To love in tongue is contrasted with loving in spirit and in truth. The former is an insincere and artificial affection, while the latter is a genuine godly love, that is manifest in a life that cares for the concerns of others before one’s own needs or wishes.
Make no mistake – to love in deed and in truth is not something that we can do for ourselves, however hard we try! We cannot love in deed and in truth through a training programme, mental exertion or fleshly effort. To love in deed and in truth is a supernatural love, that comes directly from God Himself, and can only be manifested in the life of a born-again believer – who is walking in spirit and truth.
Loving in spirit, in word, in deed and in truth is evidenced in the life of one who has died to the self-life, abides in Christ and is able to say with the apostle Paul – it is not I that live my life, but Christ, Whose life is in me and living through me.