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.” (I John 2:9-11)
Matthew 22:34-40 records a conversation Jesus once had with the Pharisees. The text says, “34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
In I John 2:7-8, the Apostle John wrote that the commandments of God are not new but have been with God’s people for centuries. On the other hand, for the recently converted, the commandments take on new significance and meaning when a believer in Christ is regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God brings illumination and understanding to the child of God as they read and meditate upon the Word of God.
Jesus said that all of the commandments of God are fulfilled by loving God and loving one’s neighbor. Upon these two commandments depend all of the Law and Prophets. In the context, He meant the entire Old Testament or the Scriptures.
The Apostle John provided an example of what loving one’s neighbor, and loving God, looks like. “9 “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” What we say must be confirmed by what we do. If an individual says that they are a believer in Christ but at the same time they hate their brother, they give evidence that they remain unconverted. Their actions speak louder than their words.
However, John goes on to say that “10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” Self-sacrificial love is an evidence of a sinner’s conversion by grace alone, through faith alone the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. There will be no cause for this person to stumble or to cause an offense.
However, John goes on to say that, “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.” John describes the status of the unconverted rather than a so-called carnal Christian.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “The original language conveys the idea of someone who habitually hates or is marked by a lifestyle of hate. Those who profess to be Christians, yet are characterized by hate, demonstrate by such action that they have never been born again. The false teachers made claims to enlightenment, transcendent knowledge of God, and salvation, but their actions, especially the lack of love, proved all such claims false.”
There are times when people hurt us, even fellow believers in Christ. However, our response is never to habitually hate those who hurt us but rather to demonstrate self-sacrificial love of the will. This is the evidence that we are truly converted.
May each of us demonstrate self-sacrificial love towards everyone we encounter today.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!