Loving like Christ
Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:7-8 NLT
Christians who are obeying God and having His life flow through their lives will love like Christ. This is also what living in the light of God looks like. John uses the phrase “Dear friends” most of the times addressing believers. In other translations, the term used is “beloved.” The use of the term signifies how Christians should act towards one another. He echoes what the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples in the book he wrote. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (John 13:34). The word love in Greek is “agape.” It is the description given in God’s Word about God’s love towards us. Now, John is saying that this love of God should also be manifested in the life of every believer. He is “not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning” (1 John 2:7), for it was already commanded of God’s people in the Old Testament. When Moses led the people of God, they recited the Shema that includes these passages, “The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Included in the command is loving their neighbors, “love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18). This command to love others just like how we love Christ is not new for this has been preached many times; “This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before” (1 John 2:7b). Though the command was given in the Old Testament times, the coming of Christ personifying the love of God in human flesh, is new. The reality of the command is lived out after our experience of receiving Christ as our Lord and Savior; “It is also new, Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it” (1 John 2:8a). So, when a Christian acts out love, he or she is not doing it because of fear but because of their love for Christ. We cannot live out this command of loving others without knowing Christ as our Lord and Savior. For it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to love others like Christ. “For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:5b). Christian life without love is nothing. This is why the light of God shining in us dispels the darkness and we live the new life loving like Christ. “For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8b).