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True with Christ and in us

Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old command that you have had from the beginning. The old command is the word you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:7-8 CSB

From the text, John now makes a transition of thought. He moves from a discussion of knowing God and obeying His commands to the topic of love. The parallel between John’s Gospel and his first epistle is unquestionable, especially in respect to the reminder about the new command of love. From the text, we hear the voice of Jesus saying, “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34). John cannot call this command new. Already in Old Testament times when God’s people were in the Sinai desert, God instructed the Israelite to love his neighbor as himself (Leviticus 19:18). Since the time of Moses, Jewish people have recited the following words as part of their creed: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). God commanded the Israelite to love his neighbor in addition to loving God. This is why John reiterates to the readers that they had the old command from the beginning: “The old command is the word you have heard.” The readers knew this command from the time when they first heard the preaching and teaching of God’s Word—the Old Testament and the New Testament—in the worship services of the local church. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ did not invalidate the old command addressed to the people of the Old Testament era but instead, it was given with greater significance, in a new form, in the context of the New Testament. The Old Testament command in Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself” has been given a deeper understanding by Christ’s death at the cross. We learn that the concept “neighbor” only applies to fellow Israelite. In the New Testament times, however, Jesus gave new meaning to the command to love one’s neighbor when He taught the Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25–37) and when He told His listeners that the command to love one’s neighbor extended even to the enemy (see Matthew 5:43–44). Jesus became known as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (see Matthew 11:19). The Lord Jesus Christ explained the meaning of the command to love one another by removing manmade obstacles and by revealing the divine intent and purpose of this particular command. The command, then, has been continuously in force from the beginning of history to the present, for it does not grow old with time. This is why John challenged the believers who claim that they are walking as Christ did, that the truth of the passage that was personified by the Lord Jesus Christ should also be seen in the lives of those who follow Christ: “which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8). Our fellowship with Christ marked by our love for Him should also be the mark of our fellowship with others.



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