Sunday, 22 March 2020
Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8
John just wrote about “an old commandment which you have had from the beginning.” In those words, he was referring to the commandment of love which had been given by Christ at the introduction of the New Covenant. Now he says, “Again, a new commandment I write to you.”
His words are still speaking of the same command to love. However, he now terms it “new” to show that it is something which specifically applies to the New Covenant. As Jesus said –
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35
Jesus called it “new,” and thus, it is new in the sense that it specifically belongs to the New Covenant. If someone has a ten-year-old car that needs repair on its motor, he may take it to the mechanic who might say, “No problem, this is an old fix.” He has been working on cars like this for almost ten years now. At the same time, he may say, “This is a new technology,” because the type of motor was just introduced when that car came out. Thus, the fix is “old” because it has been since the beginning, and yet it is “new” because it belongs to the newest line of motors.
Of this, “new commandment,” John then says, “which thing is true in Him.” This refers to Christ Jesus. Jesus demonstrated the very love He commanded to his disciples. He was making a connection between the life He revealed, which reflects the very nature of God, and how Christians should also conduct their lives, thus being imitators of God as well. That is reflected in John’s next words, “and in you.”
The connection between Christ and His disciples is exhibited in the love between His followers. To lack such an exhibition of love is to fail to meet the very standard which Jesus lived out and which He then commanded. That will be addressed in the next verse. But to set up that thought, John next says, “because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”
This ties in with what was said in Chapter 1 –
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-7
The darkness is that which is contrary to God and His nature. The “true light” is that which is revealed through Christ, and in His gospel. That true light is then conveyed through, and in harmony with, the love of God. The gospel – which reveals the light of God in Christ – is causing the darkness to pass away as this is light shines in those who receive this message of reconciliation.
Someday, only that which is light will remain. The darkness of false religion, of hate, and of the works of the devil will be ended, and only those who have come to God through Christ will be left. The true light, which is already shining, will be evidenced everywhere and forever.
Life application: Jesus spoke His command to love before the crucifixion, when darkness still covered the world. But just as a sailboat disappears over the horizon, fading into the sea, the spiritual darkness would fade away as the Light of what Jesus did rose to an anxious world. The love He directs us to – the gospel message – was already beginning to shine, but His victory over death brought it to its full splendor when He rose from the grave.
The darkness is simply dissipating from its own inability to overcome the Light; the Light dispels the darkness. And so, the “new commandment” is that we emulate the fullness of the love received in the Person of Jesus. We now have not only the command, but we also have the ability to love our fellow Christians. This “new commandment” is given from the mouth of Jesus before His death and is repeated by His apostles after His resurrection. Truly, what Jesus says in Revelation is true – “Behold I make all things new.” Revelation 21:5
Marvelous and wise God! Thank You for the New Commandment – that we love our fellow believers even as You have loved us. Give us the desire and the wisdom to be loving and gracious friends to those who belong to You. May we not withhold our love from the fellowship just as You didn’t withhold Yours when You gave us Jesus – the greatest demonstration of love ever. Amen.