A New Commandment – July 15, 2022

Last week we looked at the need to love one another as a mark of true belief in God. As we draw close to God, we naturally love one another. John addresses this reality in 1 John 2:7-14. Yet, we understand that hate is often easier and feels more natural than love. As a result, John addresses the varying motivations for loving others.

John begins with the motivation for new believers (those he calls little children). They must remember that their sins have been forgiven. New believers demonstrate zeal and excitement over their newfound forgiveness and purpose in life. Frankly, this should never wane. We all ought to seek to cultivate this attitude. Yet, John states that this should translate into love for one another. Because we have been forgiven, we ought to be quick to forgive others. Because we did not deserve salvation, and yet God still showed us mercy and grace, we should show mercy and grace to others.

John then moves to the motivation for maturing believers (those he calls old men). To these, he gives three motivating factors in their lives. First, John states that they have overcome Satan. How have they overcome Satan? The following two motivations tell us. Second, maturing believers demonstrate that they are strong in the Spirit of God. They have a passionate personal relationship with God, so they have spiritual strength to live lives that please God. They can love the unlovable. But how is this possible? Third, they have the Word in them. Through consistent meditation on the Word of God, they have become strong in their faith and begin to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Sadly the average evangelical Christian spends less than one hour a week reading their Bible. As a result, they are weak and listless in their spiritual life. One might even argue that this evidences unbelief. We cannot fulfill God’s commands without consistent meditation on the Word of God.

Finally, John moves to the motivation for elders (those he calls fathers). They have known God and seen God work through the years. They have traveled the Spiritual journey, walked the Calvary Road, and have seen God tried and tested in their life. They have seen God emerge faithful and loving over and over. Thus, they are motivated to obey God’s command to love one another because they have seen God’s love toward them.

Where do you fit in this conversation? Do you love others because God loves you? Or, are you marked by anger and bitterness because you assume God’s love? We must humble ourselves and seek a passionate relationship with God so that His love might pour through us into others’ lives.