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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining."—1 John 2:7–8 (NLT)
“Don't throw the past away, you might need it some rainy day. Dreams can come true again when everything old is new again.” These lyrics from Australian songwriter Peter Allen evoke a timeless truth. Whether it’s trends that go out of style and then come back in decades later or ancient philosophies that resurface in different ways, old things usually become fashionable again after a long absence when a new generation comes along and breaths new meaning and life into them.
In today’s passage, the apostle John tells us that everything he has been explaining up to this point is not based on some new and unfamiliar commandment, yet at the same time, it is new. How is that possible?
The old and new commandment is labeled as such by John for a reason. It’s an old and ancient commandment found in Leviticus 19:18 (NIV): “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But here’s the thing . . . this ancient commandment has taken on a new form and substance since the coming of Christ. In John 13:34 (NIV) Jesus tells us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Did you see that? This old command has been refurbished and repackaged and came out with new meaning on the other side. Before, we were called to love others as we love ourselves. But now, this new and improved commandment takes it further and calls for us to love others as Christ loved us.
You see, unlike the apostle’s heretic opponents at the time, John wasn’t claiming to brandish some state-of-the-art secret knowledge about God. Instead, he, like Jesus did with the disciples, proves that this doctrine of love for one another has been around since the beginning.
Here’s the beautiful thing about this. John said that “Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it” (1 John 2:8 NLT). He lived it and showed us how to live it, and now as we walk in the true light, as we live with the Spirit of Christ within us and walk as He walked, we can live it, too! And when we do, we’ll see that light spread from us to others, and the darkness around us will continue to disappear as God makes His light shine in the hearts of those around us to give them, as He did us, the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
DIG: How is the old commandment also new?
DISCOVER: How does this new and improved version of the commandment impact the way you view yourself and others?
DO: Love someone today as Christ loved us. Do something selfless and sacrificial for a friend, family member, or loved one.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.