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1 John 2:7-8
7 Brethren [adelphos], I write [grapho] no [ou] new [kainos] commandment [entole] unto you [humin], but [alla] an old [palaios] commandment [entole] which [hos] ye had [echo] from [apo] the beginning [arche]. The old [palaios] commandment [entole] is [esti] the word [logos] which [hos] ye have heard [akouo] from [apo] the beginning [arche].
8 Again [palin], a new [kainos] commandment [entole] I write [grapho] unto you [humin], which thing [hos] is [esti] true [alethes] in [en] him [autos] and [kai] in [en] you [humin]: because [hoti] the darkness [skotia] is past [parago], and [kai] the true [alethinos] light [phos] now [ede] shineth [phaino]. KJV-Interlinear
7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. NASB
Just as the first few verses give you the mechanics and the command to be obedient to the Fathers plan, so now John switches gears and reinforces the idea that you need to develop an attitude, which is consistent with the Fathers plan.
That attitude is one of love toward one another. This is not a new idea, nor a new commandment, but one which dates back to the very origins of God Himself. And since God has always existed, love has existed forever.
This is an introduction to the negative side of ones attitude. What walking in the light excludes. The things and persons to be avoided - hatred of a brother, love of the world, antichrists.
There are basically three words for love, used throughout the New Testament.
They are, 'phileo', a love that has to do with feelings of the heart. This connotes more emotional response or reaction to something or someone, as between a parent and child, or between friends, or even at viewing extraordinary scenery, or hearing music to which you either respond or react.
'Agapao,' another word for love, and the one which will be discussed within our passage, deals with the mind. It has to do with ones attitude toward society, dealing more with tolerance, than emotional feelings of passion.
The third word for love is 'eros' which is used in connection with intimate love as between a husband and a wife.
God has varying degrees of love 'agape' (a policy love) toward people. For unbelievers there is great concern that they should lose out in eternity by their rejection of Him. However, the principle of Christ's work over the effort of unbelievers, outweighs any emotional decisions. For believers there is love with regard to their spiritual growth and thus the rewards that will be given out.
This word, 'agape' in its various forms, is the word for the principle of love, or the policy. It stands for tolerance of others in general. This world is full of people and with as many different ideas about life as there are people. Not everyone will think alike, as that is the nature of the jungle environment apart from Bible doctrine.
This use of 'agape' is an act of responsibility, of accountability, of maturity in the spiritual realm. It is a reference to the principle of love or tolerance or recognizing the principles of truth and abiding by them rather than compromising ones life for the sake of habit, convenience, or expediency.
We treat our children with 'agape' love when we discipline them. They are taught right from wrong. We do not love them any less when they are bad, nor when we discipline them. The discipline is for teaching and training in the principles of manners, and teaching right from wrong, and so forth.
God possesses a prefect love. One that is not complicated with emotion, nor the confusion of deception and uncertainty. This same love (agape) is made available to each person. That all who believe in Him (believers) , that all who are positive toward Him and reside in fellowship and are advancing toward spiritual maturity, and are in compliance with His commands, that these will be the recipients of His perfect love, of His perfect stability, or His perfect happiness, of true and genuine prosperity, for all of these things are wrapped up in the love of God.
What John is doing here is providing a refresher course in the concept of love, of tolerance, of having an attitude which is not belligerent, cynical, judgmental, or hateful of others.
The darkness of living under the control of the sin nature is passing away in your life, if you are indeed growing up spiritually. Likewise, in history, there was a darkness between God and mankind, a curtain which separated the Holy Place from the inner room of the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies. But now since the Cross, that curtain of separation is now removed, the barrier between God and man is gone and the reality of the Messiah has replaced the promise.
The commands of God are not obsolete either, to be replaced with new and more progressive ideas. Such ideas come only from man and they are filed with flaws of bias, prejudice, and convenience to popular beliefs. They are in effect slaves to popular opinion.
Gods ideas are time tested, proven, and established.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.