GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
PO Box 2830 McDonough, Ga. 30253-1777
10452 Fitzgerald Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30238
NO NEW COMMANDMENT
1 John 2:7 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. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
How are we to understand this? In verse seven John states that he writes, “no new commandment.” But in the very next verse he clearly states, “a new commandment I write unto you.” How is this possible? Let us carefully consider the words of these verses to see if we can understand the Apostle John’s meaning.
The key words in verse seven are, “an old commandment which ye had from the beginning.” And that refers to Leviticus 19:18 where this commandment is first stated. Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. Therefore it is and old commandment from back at the beginning. And since that is the case, John indeed writes nothing new.
But the key words in verse eight are, “which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.” Here we see that due to the Person of “the true light,” that is, the Lord Jesus Christ, having come and completed his atoning work, there is an entirely new, rich character of that old commandment. And it is insomuch so that it now appears as new in its required fulfillment. For we read Christ’s words of this command and see an additional meaning, not heretofore considered. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
For he takes the Old commandment and makes it new by adding that it is only to be observed “as I have loved you.” Moses’ law had no such command, or example! For our Lord did not just love others AS himself, but he loved others ABOVE HIMSELF! John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And this has such a rich and far reaching effect that it would be noted by all others as being far outside the ‘normal’ human emotions. All would know that this was so supernatural that it would make that old commandment appear to be entirely new!
In order to shed even more light on this let us consider a passage in the Book of Titus. Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Do you see that which made the difference in our previous lives of hating one another? It was the appearance of the kindness and love of God! It was not just the Incarnation, but also our regeneration that made all things new. Therefore we see that the old commandment, although the very same in requirement, was made new in our newly given ability, and responsibility to keep it.
For in our 1 John 2:8 verse we read that since the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth, this commandment is now true in him and in you. That is, now that Christ has come to fulfill all righteousness, not only in his own self, but also within our lives, it is a new and gloriously experienced commandment. He truly makes all things new! Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
John saw this in his Patmos vision. He saw the new Jerusalem – the church, like Christ’s Bride, coming down from God out of heaven, which took place at Pentecost. He saw the reality of the spiritual realm, and not just the old, literal city of natural Jerusalem. Everything was made new and different, although the old, literal Jerusalem was still there. For that was an ‘old, passing away’ thing that they had known for many life times. But John envisioned a new church-city that was different to their acquaintance! Galatians 4:24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, (languages), as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
This new heavens and earth were closely associated with the new name given to the now redeemed believers. For it was a world wherein righteousness dwells! Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Then John also states that this old, but new commandment is such because the darkness is past! And that is so because the true light now shineth! And this was accomplished at Calvary. John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
The Lord Jesus, being Sovereign Lord, gave to the powers of evil an “hour of darkness.” But after that period he destroyed them by that death which their ‘evil hands’ afflicted upon him. Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
That hour can never be repeated! Because that darkness is forever defeated! Even those who were in past times darkness themselves, cannot walk in such sinful darkness ever again! Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
True salvation is not man reaching up to God. That’s just religion! True salvation is God reaching down to man! For salvation is never accomplished by man’s works. It is provided by God’s wondrous grace! Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
That being the case, all mankind receive salvation solely by the Eternal Light Himself! 1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Consider these wonderful words of the only true Saviour: John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. First he states that he is the light of the world. He was the light called forth in Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. For the sun and moon were not created until the fourth day. And he is also the intellectual light of every man’s reasoning powers. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Colossians 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
And in that John 8:12 verse we not only see that the Eternal Son of God provides the light of creation, but also of human reasoning to all human beings. And those who follow him in obedience to his commands then have the spiritual and eternal light of life! But those who only have him as the light of the world shall be cast into outer darkness. Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But to those to whom he is the very light of spiritual life shall shine eternally in his glory! Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Daniel 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
And the Eternal Son not only preceded the sun and moon, but he shall supersede them as well. For ‘heaven’ shall not be illuminated by artificial light, but like the true church, by the light of the glory of the Lamb! Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 22:5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
God alone is the Originating and Eternal Light! Psalm 104:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
And it is only as he allows us to partake of the revelation of that light in the revelation of the Eternal Son that we can see and abide in the light! Psalm 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
For the Apostle Paul instructs us that it is just as the light appeared for the creation of the world that the Light also appears for the creation of the new believer in Christ Jesus! 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
And when we shall see the light of his eternal glory upon his return, it shall draw us into our eternal glorification! 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Pastor Gene Breed
July 23, 2021