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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


1 John 2:8-11 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. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in Him. 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.

Here the apostle John is writing a letter to fellow Christians in which he tells them of a new commandment of God, that was also an old commandment (See Vs. 7 above). The lesson text tells us this new commandment is that Christians are to walk, even as He (Jesus Christ) walked. Doing so requires Christians to conduct their lives in a manner demonstrating that they love God and love all others as themselves (See Matt. 22:37-40). This is God's commandment for Christians today; John refers to it as a new commandment.

It is also an old commandment because this was God's will for mankind from the beginning of time. It was incorporated into the Old Covenant as God's commandment in a number of places, one of which reads, ... thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (Deut. 6:5). Another reads, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Lev. 19:18). If this was the commandment of old, why, then, does John tell us in the lesson text that it is a new commandment? The reason is because this commandment under the Old Law of Moses was not obeyed. Love for God was replaced with worldliness and idol worship. Love for their neighbors, their fellow human beings, was replaced with revenge, covetousness, and a self-righteous manner of life. God's people, the Jewish nation, for the most part, disregarded this commandment in olden times. Therefore when our Savior said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, it appeared to be a new commandment. When He followed by saying, This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:38-39), this too seemed to be a new law of God. When referred to by the apostle John, in the lesson text as a new commandment (Vs. 8), in reality it was an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning (Vs. 7), but His children failed to obey.

When He issued His commandment requiring all of His followers to love their fellow human beings, Jesus also referred to it as a new commandment. In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34). With this new commandment being ushered in by our Lord, true brotherly love was given the meaning intended from the beginning of time, of which the apostle John wrote the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. There is no mistaking what brotherly love must mean to the Christian. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus Christ manifested true love, compassion, and forgiveness for all mankind. That was His manner of life; that was the way He conducted His life on earth. As verse six, preceding the lesson text, says, Christians, to be acceptable in the sight of God, are to walk, even as He walked.

Love between all mankind is God's law. Satan introduced hatred for others by promoting worldliness, as that which is to be desired during life on earth. Lust, envy, deceit, spite, revenge and all other sins of the flesh noted in Romans 1:18-32, are designed by Satan to cause mankind to ignore, and fail to demonstrate, God's law of love for our fellow man. Hatred and love for mankind is as different as darkness and light. And this is the exact the message found in the lesson text. To find Jesus Christ, and know Him as the Savior of the world, is to find the true light (that) now shineth. Indeed, with the coming of the Lord, and the Christian dispensation, full knowledge of the will of God has been revealed, and the darkness is past. To live in the light of Jesus Christ, and obey God's will, Christians must demonstrate brotherly love toward all mankind. It is God's old law. from the beginning of time. that has now been made new.

To hate a fellow human being is to walk in spiritual darkness, stumbling over every sin that Satan places in our pathway. Such a one knoweth not wither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. In this state of blindness, it is impossible for anyone to see the dangers lurking before them with every step taken in life. The true light now shineth. It is Jesus Christ. Find Him, and follow the light of His ways!