Signs of Life

1 John 3:14 “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

Are you dead or alive – spiritually, that is?  The Bible teaches us that at the time of our birth, when our  physical life begins, we are dead, spiritually.  Everyone starts out that way, and everyone remains that way until and unless they are born from above, i.e., born again, as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3.  It doesn’t matter who we are or how “spiritual” we might think we are.  We may be very religious, attend church or some other house of worship every week, or every day, for that matter. We may frequent the “spiritual” section of Barnes and Noble or the library, be very interested in things like angels, and reincarnation, and “spiritual teachers,” but if we’ve never been born again, the Bible clearly says that our spirits are utterly and completely dead.  

So how do we know if we are alive or dead?  In the physical realm, it’s pretty obvious.  People who are alive respond to stimuli.  They flinch when someone pinches them, they get hungry, they eat, they drink, they move. They do all those things that someone in a casket can’t do.  But what about in the spiritual realm?  Thankfully, the Bible gives us many tests so we can actually know.  Some of them are in the book of I John.  

In the verse above, we know we are no longer dead spiritually if we love “the brothers.” “The brothers” in this verse means other Christians.  If we love Christians, that’s a good indication that we are spiritually alive.  So, do you want to be around Christians?  Are they your favorite people in the whole world?  Do you love to be in church with your brothers and sisters in the Lord? Do you love to talk to Christians about the things of God? If you can’t respond “yes” to these questions, John is telling you that you are spiritually dead. 

Another test, are you sensitive to sin in your life? Does sin bother you?  Do you admit that you are a sinner and confess your sins to God when you become aware of them?  Or is this something you never think about much?  1 John 3:9 says “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”  You see, a person who is alive spiritually is greatly irritated by sin in his or her own life, and they want nothing more than to get rid of it.  It’s like a disease, and sick (but alive) people want to be made well.   

One more test: are you hungry for the Word of God?  Is reading the Bible a regular practice in your life, not out of habit or curiosity, but because you long to know what it says and what it means and how it applies to your life? Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).  Thus, Jesus is likening the Scriptures to spiritual bread.  People who are spiritually alive are continually hungry for it.  Those who are dead spiritually have no interest in spiritual food, just like a person lying in a casket has no interest in physical food. 

So again, are you dead or alive?  There is no more important question we can ask ourselves.

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