July 13 2021
Today, Tuesday July 13
Our New Experience
1 John 2:9-11 “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 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 “Old Commandment” has now become a “New Commandment” since Jesus has brought “the true light into this world and the darkness is passing away” (v. 8). The commandment has not changed. We were created to love God with all of our heart and to prove that love by loving others. This commandment is now “new” in the sense that it is new in emphasis and it is new in the example of Jesus. But it should also be “new” in our experience.
Verse nine starts out by saying, “Whoever says he…”. The contrast between "saying" and "doing" is one we have met before (1 John 1:6, 8, 10; 2:4, 6). It is easy to practice a Christianity of "words"—singing the right songs, using the right vocabulary, praying the right prayers—and, through it all, deceiving ourselves into thinking we are spiritual. This mistake also ties into something Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:33-37). What we say should be the true expression of our character. We should not need extra words ("oaths") to fortify what we say. Our yes should mean yes and our no should mean no. So, if we say we are in the light, we will prove it by loving the brethren. Many Christians urgently need to be accepted, loved, and encouraged.
Christian love is not a shallow sentiment, a passing emotion that we perhaps experience in a church service. Christian love is a practical thing; it applies in the everyday affairs of life. Just consider the "one another" statements in the New Testament and you will see how practical it is to love one another.
In short, to love other Christians means to treat them the way God treats them—and the way God treats us. Christian love that does not show itself in action and in attitude (1 Cor. 13:4-7) is spurious.
What happens to a believer who does not love the brethren? We have already seen the first tragic result: he lives in the darkness, though he probably thinks he is living in the light (1 John 2:9). He thinks he sees, but he is actually blinded by the darkness of hatred. This is the kind of person who causes trouble in Christian groups. He thinks he is a "spiritual giant," with great understanding, when actually he is a babe with very little spiritual perception. He may read the Bible faithfully and pray fervently, but if he has hatred in his heart, he is living a lie.
The Christian life—the life that is real—is a beautiful blending of "something old, something new." The Holy Spirit takes the "old things" and makes them "new things" in our experience. He is the only One who can take "old truth" and make it fresh and new in our daily experience at this present time.
Perhaps the best thing we can do, right now, is to search our hearts to see if we hold anything against a brother, or if someone has anything against us. The life that is real is an honest life—and it is a life of doing, not merely saying. It is a life of active love in Christ. This means forgiveness, kindness, longsuffering. But it also means joy and peace and victory.
The love life is the only life, because it is the life that is real!