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Words and deeds

The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:9-11 CSB

Continuing on in our theme of light and dark, John establishes the point that you cannot do both at the same time: you either are walking in darkness or you are walking in the light. How do we know when we are in the light or darkness? John spells it out clearly: if someone hates their brother or sister, they are in darkness, but if they love their brother or sister, they are in the light. This does not necessarily mean that every Christian will always be emotionally in sync with other believers, or be particularly fond of one another. The word here for “loves” is agape, meaning an intentional sacrificial type of love in action. We are challenged to love one another, in obedience to God. We see this in John 13:34, where Jesus says, “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” Yet, if an individual hates his brother or sister, they are in darkness and don’t know where they are going. They are in disobedience of Jesus and are not following the true way, for, as we see in John 14:6, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Remember that John was writing to help the believers understand who was truly a follower of Christ apart from false teachers claiming to be followers of Jesus. So, in response, John simply makes the point, if a believer claims to be a follower of Christ, it will be on display if they love their fellow believers. We can see this point also in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” So, if one claims to be a follower of Christ and deeds do not match the words, such claim is worthless. Christ’s followers who live in the light will love their spiritual brothers and sisters. But those who do not will continue to live and stumble in the darkness. Life lived in spiritual darkness is without purpose and goals and this need not to happen for God made Himself available to us so we can walk in His light. For Jesus had said, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).


Isaac De Guzman


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