I John 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
God continued His teaching regarding those who claim to know Him. He had already stated that the person who claims to know God but does not keep His commandments, is a liar. In verse 5 God stated that the person who keeps His Word is a true saint who will be growing in the Lord. The love of God is perfected in this person’s life. Those who are growing in the Lord are saved. You cannot grow in the Lord if you are not saved. God has made all the provision for His child to grow and He expects His child to grow.
Jesus Christ showed us His expectation as He worked with His disciples. He was teaching them and He needed to rebuke them for their unbelief. After Acts 2, the disciples were different men. That was a transitional fact. After the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, He provided another Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells every born again Christian, since that time, from the moment they are saved. It is necessary to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which means to be under His control. It does not mean to have more of Him as the charismatics falsely teach.
In verse 6 we see that the person who professes to abide in Jesus Christ should be walking even as He walked. God knows that His salvation is powerful. God has the power to change the nature of the saved person. He knows that when a person is truly saved, they are equipped to walk as a child of God. He equips the saint so that he or she can please God. God does not waste His gifts. He expects His child to obey Him.
This is not trickery. A person that is truly saved will not complain that he has to please God now. A person that is truly saved, wants to please God. He will not always do that, but that is part of the new nature. The saints in Corinth were very carnal. Yet they still had a desire to know the truth. They were wrong in causing schisms. They were also wrong in condoning the sin mentioned in chapter 5. However, they were also teachable. They needed a sharp rebuke from God through Paul, but they responded properly to the rebuke. They did not fight against the truth.
In verse 7 John was directed to write about the commandments of the Lord. God declared that He was not giving any new commandment to the saints. It was the same commandment that the apostles had heard from the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Jesus called His disciples and told them to follow Him. That is the same thing John was saying here. Those who are saved need to follow Jesus. We have already noted that there is no such thing as an independent Christian. We are dependent upon the Lord and we need to follow the Lord.
In verse 8 John was told to write about a new commandment. This new commandment was new in the sense that it was fresh. It was a commandment that had been neglected for a long time. It was taught in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:18&34. The nation of Israel was to love others with a pure, Godly love. At the time of Jesus Christ this was not taking place. The Pharisees were very competitive and very stingy with their brand of love. They “loved” those who paid homage to them. They hated those who did not agree with and endorse them. They grew to hate Jesus Christ with a vengeance. They also grew to hate the apostles. Prior to Paul’s conversion he was sent out by the Pharisees to stop those who were preaching in Jesus’ name. Peter and John were attacked by false teachers.
Even at the time of John’s writing of this epistle, there was a corrupted view of love being promoted among those who professed to be saved. John reminded the readers that the darkness is past and the true light was now shining. The Pharisaical system had dominated the nation of Israel for a number of years. That was a dark time in the nation of Israel. That system was still around as John was writing this, but Jesus Christ had come and shed His blood on the cross and He rose from the dead and ascended back up to heaven. He provided salvation for lost sinners. As we mentioned, the Holy Spirit had also been given for those who are saved. The truth is more powerful than the lie. The light was readily available and no one could claim they were bound by the clutches of the Pharisees. Many had indeed been saved, as we read in the book of Acts. Those who were saved needed to understand the love of God. They needed to be retrained.
God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner. Jesus Christ loved the Pharisees, and He exposed their false teaching. He openly declared their hypocrisy. The true light of the Gospel was now shining and the people needed to embrace the truth by which they had been saved. They needed to build upon that faith. Remember that John wrote that the person who keeps God’s Word will have the love of God perfected in Him. In verse 9 John challenged those who claimed to be in the light, but hated their brother, that they were in darkness even at the time that John was writing this. You cannot be in the light and hate others who also are in the light. They will need to grow, but they are saved. Those who are saved need to learn to walk by faith and when they do so, they will learn how to deal with others who are saved, but in need of help. That really includes every believer.
It is not loving to withhold the love of God from another believer. Those who are saved need to look for Biblical fruit in the saved person. Jesus stated that we can know the tree by its fruit. Christians will never identify true fruit if they are not spending time in God’s Word. If a Christian is trying to be a self-made person, they will not understand the truth properly.
The person who is saved needs to show true love for his brother. True love does not mean condoning sin. It does not mean unity at all costs. It means coming alongside a brother and seeking to help that brother to become more Christlike.
Jesus loved the world. He did not endorse the sin of the world. He loved the souls of men enough to come and die for lost humanity. He spent hours upon hours teaching the lost and showing them what true salvation looks like. He spent hours upon hours with His disciples teaching them and at times rebuking them. He loved them. He wanted them to live in the truth.
John was directed to write of the danger of false professions. He covered this subject from different angles. This was a problem in his time and it is still a problem now. We have talked about New Evangelicalism. We have talked of other groups as well. If I want to claim to be a Christian but walk in sin, I am expressing hatred for my brother. I am being a stumblingblock to him. I am hindering him from walking faithfully with the Lord. God says that a person who hates his brother is in darkness even until now. That person has never come to the light. We noted in chapter 1 that God is light and in him is no darkness. Those who claim to be in the light cannot walk in darkness. The Light of the world is in them. Those that God is speaking of here are those who claim to be in the light but are not.