The love test
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
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.
Comment: The love test is what I call the next test that John gives us. In this message, John tells us that we cannot hate a brother or sister and claim to be walking in the light. John starts verse 7 by saying that he is not writing a new commandment but rather an old one. John tells us that the old commandments is found in the word that we have already heard. In the context of this passage, John was referring to Lev 19:18 where the command to love your neighbor as you love yourself was given. This is the reason why John says it is a old commandment.
At the same time John tells us that it is a new commandment that he is writing to us. Here John again in the context of the passage, he is referring to John 13:34 where Jesus gave us a new commandment to love a brother or sister as He has loved us. It is new in the sense that Jesus took an already existing love commandment and raised the standard from loving as we love ourselves to loving as He has loved us. John says this commandment is true in Jesus and true in us. True in Jesus since He demonstrated love of God in how He lived His life, and true in us if we also demonstrate the love of Jesus in us by how we live our lives. This demonstration of love in how we live our lives shows also that darkness is passing away and the true light is already shinning. This the reason Jesus said in John 13:35 that if we love one another as he has loved us, then the world will see that we are His disciples, and that according to John, indicates that darkness is passing away and the light, the true light, which is Jesus, is already shinning.
Having given us the theology, John then gives us the test. Since light shines through those who demonstrates the love of Jesus in their lives by loving others as Jesus loved us, those who say that they are in the light, yet they hate their brother, they are still in darkness. No one can claim to be in the light, in Jesus, if they don’t demonstrate the love of Jesus in their lives. In 1 John 4:20, John says that if you don’t love your brother whom you can see, you cannot love God whom you cannot see.
John says whoever loves his brother, abides or remains in the light and in him there is no stumbling. John says in John 11:10 that anyone who walks in the night or in darkness will stumble. When you have the light, how can you stumble since you can see where you are going clearly infront of you but, in the darkness, you will stumble. That is why John says in verse 11 that whoever hates his brother, is in darkness and walks in darkness. He is completely swallowed by darkness and walks only in darkness. As a result of him being in darkness and walking in it, he does not know where he is going because darkness has blinded his eyes.
Failure to continuously demonstrate the love of Jesus in your life is a clear indication that you are not in the light, you are not in Jesus, but you are in the dark and walk in the darkness and are blinded by darkness.
Message: What does this mean to us, it simply means for example that if we are racists, we cannot be Christians. If we don’t live a life that demonstrates the love of Jesus, then we are not Christians. This includes if we fail to even love our enemies, we cannot be Christians, why? Because Jesus commanded us to love our enemies. God loved us even while we were sinners. Therefore, look at your life, is the love of Jesus demonstrated in how you live your life?