Saturday 1 October 2022

1 John 2:7-11

7 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. 8 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. 9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. 10 Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.

This passage is found in a section of tests about who is “living in the light”, that is, a genuine follower of Jesus. One test is whether we are keeping his commands. The second is whether we are in intimate personal fellowship with Jesus, and the third, seen in this passage, is whether we love our fellow believers.

Love has always been a commandment for God-followers. Jesus taught his disciples to love from the beginning of his ministry. He reached out to the poor, the slighted and the bereaved. He honoured women in a society that gave them little honour. In this sense, to “love one another” was not a new commandment. Yet John says it is also new – because Jesus’ self-sacrificial death gave new depth and meaning to loving one another.

John contrasts loving fellow believers as “living in the light” and causing others to stumble as “being blinded by the darkness”. Sadly, there are examples of interdenominational rivalry or splits within congregations. This ‘darkness’ has sometimes influenced the world against the church.

Yet there are many more examples of true love. I have experienced wonderful joy from the love of fellow believers. My church family have befriended, supported and encouraged me, and, most importantly, forgiven me when needed. I have also found great joy in meeting Christians in other places – for example, in India and Nepal – and experiencing a mutual bond and understanding because of our shared faith, which crosses cultural boundaries. Such love is a beautiful consequence of ‘living in the light’ and is also a testament to others of Jesus’ love.

Jesus, thank you for your amazing self-sacrifice, done in love for us. Please help me to love my fellow believers unconditionally and sacrificially. I pray that believers everywhere will love each other so much that the world will take notice. Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

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