WALKING IN THE LIGHT MEANS LOVE
I. (:7-8) THE COMMANDMENT OF LOVE SHOULD BE FAMILIAR AND YET FRESH
A. (:7) It should be familiar because it is consistent with God’s revelation from the beginning
“Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”
Or does this refer to the beginning of their Christian experience ?? – Stedman
They had God’s revelation in the OT; they had the message of the gospel since the day they were first exposed to the truth; they did not need to have new revelation from the Gnostics to supercede or enhance this message.
What is the “old commandment”? walking as Christ walked — especially in the area of sacrificial love
B. (:8) It should be fresh because of its perfection in Christ and its progressive development in our own lives
“On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.”
Beware of Tradition … it can kill you. Familiarity often does breed contempt
Candlish: “For though doctrinal Christianity is always old, experimental Christianity is always new. The gospel preached to us is old; but the gospel realised in us is always new. Christ set forth before our eyes is always old; but Christ in us the hope of glory — Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith — Christ becoming more and more, through the Spirit’s teaching, part and parcel of our whole inner man — This Christ is always new.”
The NT frequently uses “new” with its more qualitative sense in order to speak of the fundamentally new character of the advent of Christ rather than in a time sense; denotes that which is new in its own way.
II. (:9-11) LOVE OR HATE EXPOSES YOUR SPIRITUAL STATE
A. (:9) Hatred means darkness regardless of your profession (:9)
“The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”
The claim to be “in the light” is a simple claim to be a Christian. We shouldn’t be gullible and assume that all professors of faith are genuine partakers of Christ.
Hatred is spiritually identified with murder (1 John 3:15; Matt 5:21, 22).
B. (:10) Love means light with the benefit of assurance (:10)
“The one who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”
He has nothing in him that is likely to ensnare him or to cause him to stumble. When we are walking around our house when it is well lit, we are able to see and avoid any obstructions which might otherwise trip us up. So if we live in love we won’t fall over obstacles like pride, envy, jealousy, revenge. It is when self-seeking governs men that life becomes so entangled.
C. (:11) Hatred means total darkness in every respect
“But the one who hates his brother”:
1. state of life — “is in the darkness”
Vaughan: “darkness is the moral and spiritual atmosphere of his life”
2. course of life — “and walks in the darkness”
3. direction and destiny —
“and does not know where he is going”
4. fatal handicap —
“because the darkness has blinded his eyes”
Vaughan: “Like the mole, like the ponies used in coal mines, like the fish of Mammoth Cave, dwellers in darkness eventually lose the ability to appreciate light.”