THE OLD COMMAND IS NEW
Dear friends, I am not writing a new command but an old one, which you had since the beginning. This old command is the message you heard. Yet I am writing a new command; its truth is seen in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2: 7-8)
What is the old command that is now new? In the previous chapter, John highlighted the importance of walking in the light in order to maintain fellowship with one another and with the Father and the Son. This was nothing new to his readers if they were Jewish. All their lives they had been taught to obey God’s commands. They understood that they were to live their lives in the light of God’s Word.
The fact that their ancestors had failed to obey God’s Word did not change His requirements. Unfortunately, the pure word of God had been embellished over the centuries by the rabbis’ interpretations and by the addition of so many petty extras that the heart of God’s Word had been obscured.
What was new to them was the embodiment of that Word in a person. In his gospel, John had introduced Jesus to his readers as the Word – logos.
“Logos is the Greek term translated as “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” In Greek philosophy, it also referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God . . .
“John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” as a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to note many of the attributes of Jesus.”
http://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-Logos.html (retrieved November 2015)
Jesus came from the Father in person, both fully God and fully man, to reveal the true nature of God by being God’s message to His people in person. They no longer had any excuse for not knowing what the true God was like and what He required of them because it was visible in Jesus.
Jesus said that He had not come to do away with the law – torah – God’s directions for living the life that pleased and reflected Him. He came to “fulfil” it – to live it out in person and in the spirit of torah, so that they would understand what God wanted and how to obey Him. It was in this sense that the commandment was both old and new.
Jesus did not come to change God’s standards or to do away with them. He only did away with that which obscured the true meaning of the way God wanted His people to live. The religious leaders of His day misled His people by placing so much emphasis on the petty additions to God’s instructions that they had thrown mercy out of the window for the rules of behaviour that were nothing but slavery to the people of God.
Jesus was the true light – the revelation of what God wanted – by living in loving submission and obedience to His Father. God did not want children who slavishly followed rules but had no fellowship with the Him, like the elder brother in Jesus’ story of the father and his two sons. Obedience to God’s requirements was not an end in itself. His laws were His prescription for keeping the lines of communication open between His children and Himself so that He could share intimate fellowship with them.
His commandments were never intended to be restrictive but protective because He knew our capacity to destroy ourselves when we make our own rules. Look where the rebellion of the human race against God has brought us. We have trashed His earth, wasted His resources, messed up the natural world and driven nations and peoples apart by our selfishness and greed.
God’s way promotes reconciliation, fosters forgiveness, harmony and peace among people. It teaches us to care for our world and for one another instead of leaving a trail of wreckage and devastation behind us wherever we go.
Our sin brings death; Jesus came to bring us life – to show us what real life is when we fall in line with who God is, what He requires and what He can do with those who come back under His authority. Life is about becoming fully human again. Sin dehumanises us. It makes us less than who we really are, and who we were created to be. Jesus came to restore us to our full potential as God children. That can only happen when we return to the Father through Jesus and follow our Master by walking in the light and truth of God’s Word.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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