Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not a New Commandment

1 John 2:7-11 (ESV)
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. [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. [9] Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. [10] Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. [11] But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
The commandment is not new, it is old. The law is the law. It doesn’t change. Yet the motivation for following it does. No longer do we follow the law in futile fear. But in Christ we have been loved, and love now dispels hate, light overcomes darkness. This motivation, it can not be given life by the law itself. No, only the gospel, the forgiveness of sins can give birth to the love that dispels of the hate for your brother. The law hasn’t changed.
Sometimes you run across those who think that love is an excuse to do away with the law. “Well, as long as I love, then the ten commandments don’t need to be followed.” Love becomes an excuse for sin, as if the two were compatible. We often don’t see it in our muddled sinful state. But we cannot simultaneously love our neighbor and do away with God’s law. God’s law however gives us a blue print of how to love our neighbor, our spouse, our family, our brothers, especially our brothers in Christ. Love never condones sin, though it always forgives sin.

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