A New Commandment, 1 Jn 2:8-17

In 1 Jn 2:8-17 John deals with three subjects.  He deals with a new commandment, spiritual maturity, and the right attitude toward the world.

A New Commandment, 1 Jn 2:8-11

The new commandment that John wrote to them is the same new commandment Jesus gave in Jn 13:34.  Remember that John’s epistle reads like a continuation of his gospel.

The new commandment is true in Jesus because he gave it.  And it’s true “in you”.  Therefore, it’s not for only the disciples to whom Jesus gave it in Jn 13.  The commandment continues today.

The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.  In Jn 1:4-5 Jesus came into darkness.  He is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, Jn 1:9.  Jn 8:12, I am the light of the world.  So, though there is still darkness, there is also now light.  And the people in Jesus are no longer in darkness, but in light, Jn 3:18-21, 1 Pet 2:9.  And the light shines in his people, Matt 5:14-16.

Light and Darkness

The test of whether a person is truly in the light and not in darkness is whether he “loveth his brother”.  If he loves his brother he is in light.  If he hates his brother he’s in darkness.  We are to have fellowship one with another.  Look back at 1 Jn 1:6-7.  This reminds us of the light in Israel and the darkness in Egypt in Ex 10:21-23.  They were separated.  Thus, this love is not the tolerance that is preached by the world.

In the Tribulation, to love his brother is essential to pass the judgment of Matt 25:31-46.  

When you’re in the light you don’t stumble, Prov 4:18-19.  When you’re in darkness you don’t know where you’re going; the darkness blinds your eyes, like 2 Cor 4:4.  

Children, Young Men, and Fathers, 1 Jn 2:12-14

In this passage, John addresses little children, fathers, and young men.  The things John writes to these three groups pictures our spiritual maturity.

To little children, John writes, your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake, and ye have known the Father.  When a person first gets “saved” his sins are forgiven, Col 1:14.  And then after you’re saved you begin your relationship with God as your Father.  You’re born of God.  

In the Tribulation, apparently, they confess their sins like the Jews who came to John the Baptist’s baptism; they were confessing their sins, Matt 3:5-6.  You see this in 1 Jn 1:9.

To the young men, John writes, ye have overcome the wicked one, ye are strong, the word of God abideth in you, and, again, ye have overcome the wicked one.  As people grow in the Lord, they strengthen, Heb 5:12-14.  They not only read the word of God, but the word of God is now in them.  Therefore, they are able to stand against the wiles of the devil and overcome him, Eph 6:10-18.  

In the Tribulation, they will need to be strong in the Lord and overcome the wicked one who will be coming after them to kill and destroy them.

To the fathers, John writes, Ye have known him that is from the beginning.  He writes this twice.  This must certainly be a reference to Jesus Christ, the Son, 1 Jn 1:1-3.  In full maturity, you know Jesus like Paul desired to know him in Phil 3:10.  In full maturity, you’ve had the fellowship of his suffering and you are made conformable to his death.

The World

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  So the world is a big enemy of God’s people.  The things that are in it can draw you away from the Lord.  The world and God are mutually exclusive so that if a man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. And if he loves the Father, then he won’t love the world.

All that is in the world falls into one of three categories.  It’s either the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. And these three are of the world, not of the Father.  The devil tempted Eve and Jesus with these three in Gen 3 and Matt 4.

The world passeth away, and the lust thereof.  It’s all vanity and it’s all fleeting, Ecc 1:2 and 1 Cor 7:31. In 2 Pet 3, it will all be dissolved.  That’s why Jesus taught Matt 6:19-21 about your heart and your treasure.  

But he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  See 1 Pet 1:23-25.  When you are born again by the word of God, you abide for ever like the word and the Lord do.  Notice the couplet of believing and doing the will of God that we studied last week, Rev 14:12.  In the Tribulation they keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus.

To study the previous lesson, see Keep His Commandments. To study the next lesson, see Antichrists.