A New Commandment – July 8, 2022

Over the past few years, our society has fractured around us. Whether the fault lines break around immigration, black lives matter & white lives matter, gun-control & 2nd amendment supporters, pro-life & pro-abortion, Republican & Democrat, we seem less unified as society progresses. However, the church should stand as a light of something different. We should be a model of unity and love. We must always understand that unity and love are fragile and can shatter in an instant without constant, intentional care. John understood this, and 1 John 2:7-14 reminds us of the new command from Christ in John 13:34-35. 

John begins with the confusing statement that the command is new and old. To start with, what John was writing to them was not a new command but an old one. They had learned it before because John had taught it before. They had known it from the beginning of their Christian life. The apostles taught the church this outworking of the gospel from day one. While the command was not new, Jesus Christ invested it in several ways with a richer and more profound meaning: Emphasized quality – It was to be true heartfelt love, not just a fulfilling of obligations; Emphasized extent – It was to go to all people, not just people like us; Emphasized fresh apprehension of it – We gain it through the Spirit of God. 

Further, John informs us that when we fail to love, we demonstrate that we walk in darkness. When we fail to love others, we act like Satan’s children. If you find your identity in racial or geopolitical politics and not in the kingdom of heaven, and if you are characterized by hate, you are in unbelief. 

On the other hand, John states that if you love your brother, you are walking in the light. In other words, if you love your brother, you walk in truth and demonstrate that you are a child of God. What does it mean to love one another? First, it will mean that when we fail to love and sin toward each other, we will go to each other and say sorry. Second, because this offense is often the other way, we must show our love through forgiveness. Third, we must show love by practical demonstration, even when it is costly. 

As believers, we are marked by our love for others. How are you doing in this area? As a fruit of the Spirit, this love occurs as we draw closer to God. For, your view of God dictates your view of life. May God grant in each of us a passionate love for others.