In our world today, we see laws all around us. Think about driving, signs tell us how fast to go, or who should yield, or when to stop and when to go. These signs are set up to be a reminder to us that we need to obey the laws so everyone is safe. We need the signs so we do not forget the laws.
Well in 1 John today, John is not giving us a new commandment. Instead, he is reminding us of something that was already commanded. That ‘old commandment’ is to love God and love others (Lev. 19:18, Deut. 6:5). In verse 8, he says that it is a new commandment, but that is only to say that Jesus confirmed those teachings and told the same thing to his disciples (Matt. 22:36-40).
The rest of the passage focuses on who is following the commandment and who is not. The people who love God and love others are in the light, while those who may love God and hate their brother are in darkness. The question is, are you in the light or in the darkness?
As Christians, we have no reason to be in the darkness. Romans 5:8 says, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” If God can love us even while we are sinners, then why can we not love our brothers and sisters in the same way? As humans, we often like to hold on to grudges. Somebody might have wronged us or sinned against us, and so we cannot stand to even think about that person. But let me ask you, how many times have you sinned against God? It is humbling to think about the number of times we have sinned against God and the amount of grace and forgiveness He has given us.
We need to be lights in a dark world. Extend grace to people who have wronged you. Love people well. Do all of these things so that people may see God through you. (Matt. 5:16)
By: Brice Stockton — Student Ministry Apprentice