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1 John 2:8: A New Commandment


1 John 2:8
[8] At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (ESV)

It is interesting that the false teachers that had infiltrated the church claimed to have "new" and "special" knowledge.   Their so-called new teaching was age old lies from the enemy that denied the deity of Christ and negated their need to love their neighbor which had long been taught in the Scriptures in the Old Testament.

John reminds the church that the teaching that would be new would actually be the old commandment with a new look.  Let's look at this a little more closely.  In the Old Testament Law the Jews were commanded to love their neighbor.  But, their practice of loving their neighbor tended to only involve loving those whom they felt like loving, while ignoring others.  In Jesus, we find a new understanding of love, both in what he taught and what he demonstrated by his actions.

What Jesus Taught:

Matthew 5:43–48
[43] “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. [46] For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [47] And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? [48] You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)

What Jesus Demonstrated By His Actions:

Romans 5:6–8
[6] For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (ESV)

Do you see that the commandment to love, while being a commandment from of old, was made new by Jesus' teaching and actions? This sets the bar for love so high that you and I can never attain to it on our own.  If you are intimidated by this call to love like Jesus loved then it shows you are paying attention.  This is impossible to accomplish without the Lord's help.  Thankfully, he has given us His Holy Spirit to help us.

As you consider those whom you are called to love allow the helplessness of the task to be replaced by the reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit in you to accomplish what he calls you to.

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