Living a Balanced Life
(An In-Depth Study of First John)
Something Old, Something New
1 John 2:7-11
Balance; the Bible can’t be understood deeply without it. Life can’t be lived to the full without it. John’s letter to his doubting readers strives to bring balance back in their lives with sound doctrine, and a call to love that necessarily promotes obedience. It is clear from the opening paragraph, that John knows the truth will spark the hearts of true Christians with love for God and love toward others.
Readers of this letter now realize that John is offering them a test. The point of the passage (verses 7–11) is that we should keep the commandment of love, and by so doing, confirm our standing in the light of God. John’s burden is still the same as in 2:3, “By this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” To those who keep, (desire, guard) his commandments John wants to give assurance. In the same way, to those who don’t keep his commandments John wants to strip away any false assurance. So in verses 7–11 he lays down the love commandment as the specific test of obedience. The test is virtually the same as 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren.” Love is the living evidence of new birth and eternal life.
John is offering his readers the reassuring word that they are not receiving anything other than that which was from the beginning of their life with Christ. No bait and switch is going on. In other words, the truth that they heard from the beginning was and is a transforming truth. God offers you forgiveness, hope and the power to change; it’s a package deal. You either have it all, or you have nothing at all.
We have already made the connection between the ideas of… God is light and God is love. In this case light and love are synonymous. This is the sense of which John states the commandment is new. The light is already shining in the world, and Jesus is that light. (John 9:5) Jesus said that we Christians are the “light of the world”. (Matthew 5:14) The beam of light that shines out from God through Jesus and through us into the world is the beam of love. It’s no wonder that John’s letter speaks of love the way it does.
John’s idea of “Love and Living in the Light”
The Commandment (Vs 7-8)
The Application (Vs 9-11)
John 13:34 / 2 John 5
In what sense is it old?
3:14 / 1:3 / 1:5
In what sense is it new?
Why say it is both “old” and “new”?
OLD- to distinguish from the false teaching
NEW- to prevent future false understanding
Standing in the light, or standing in darkness
There is a fountain of love in every believer
Christians do not see people as projects
Every relationship in the Christian life comes from love