Posted: Tuesday, December 1
1 John 2:1-17
Verse of the day:
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. (I John 2:7-8)
John is helping people see how what he is writing relates to the revelations of God that went before. First he points out that this is not new. The commandment to trustfully obey God is an old commandment. God has not changed in His love for us. His character, and His desire for us to count on Him and live out of that trust is constant.
Secondly, John says that this old commandment is "the word which you have heard." So it is from the beginning and they have heard this in His word. It is God's eternal purpose and it is God's self-revelation to them in His word. Yet, John goes on, "I am writing you a new commandment." It is what they have heard before and yet what John is writing them about also is new. How can that be?
The reason this is new is because it is now true in Christ and in us! Something has happened in Christ, the one who was from the beginning and yet John saw, heard, and touched Him. He is the life that has been made manifest to us, but it goes beyond that. Christ by His life, death, and resurrection, has made this commandment a living reality both in Him and in us. It is no longer a command outside of us, hanging over our heads, something we strive on our own to accomplish but always fail at. Jesus becomes human, grabs a hold of our humanity and makes this trusting, abiding, obedient relationship with His heavenly Father a reality in human flesh.
John goes on to say that this is a new commandment because "the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining." Again John is saying that the reason for the newness is because something has changed in reality. The darkness that surrounds us and is in us in actually passing away—not because of us, but because of God.
So this commandment to live in Christ is one we can participate in, in a new and wonderful way because Christ has already made it real in our lives. And we can trust this because we know the character of God is that He is all light and no darkness. This good news always amazing to me, no matter how many times I hear it.
We can abide in Christ, live in Christ, know the truth about ourselves and our complete inadequacy to save ourselves, and yet not be crushed by it, because Christ has done all that is necessary to truly abide and share His life with us. Why then wouldn't we want to turn and abide in Him when He is working to accomplish His purposes in and for us?