Saturday, December 15, 2012

1 John 2:7-14

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning, I have written unto you, young men because you are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

What if I told you that one law sums up all the others? What if I told you that if you obeyed it, you would not have to worry about any other laws ever? This is John’s perspective here in 1 John 2. He says in verse 3 to keep Christ’s “commandments,” but then in verse 7 and later he talks about a “commandment.” So, what is it, commandments or commandment? Well, both, but basically, just the one. Are you confused yet? Obey them all. Obey the one. What is he talking about? Well, in today’s text John is talking about the command to “love one another.” This is the high command. It trumps all other laws between men. Followers of Christ will obey God’s law. But God’s law is not painfully obnoxious. God’s law is not ostentatiously overbearing. God’s law is quite humbly, simple. Love. That is the command. Love. The implications of such a command are far reaching, but the command itself is not complex. It is not self-serving, rather it is the antithesis of selfish, it is selfless. It is not proud, but rather it seeks the praise of others. It does not get greedy or unrighteously angry, instead it is a classification in which all truly deep-set good deeds dwell. Love, simply, is the best law. Who murders those they love? Who steals from the ones they love? Who can “lovingly” act inappropriate with someone who is not their spouse? Love causes obedience to all of God’s laws, and it is painstakingly simple. Love is also a purifying remedy for the self-righteous. Their muddied self-glorying in the failure and sinfulness of those around them melts under the weight of love in their hearts. Their minds seek not the praise for themselves and destruction of those around them, but rather, lovingly they seek the healing of others even at the expense of their formerly desired stack of fleeting praises.  Love is the law that liberates. It is not a poison that pollutes the holy life, rather it is the antidote to a poisoned sinful life.  And this is how Jesus lived – according to this law, love. Now, go, and fulfill the law in this same way.
Food For Thought: Read Romans 13:8-14. What connection to love does the Apostle Paul make with the rest of the law?