Sunday, 22 February 2009 00:00

A Confirmation of Grace: Love

I John 2:7-11 (ESV)

Beloved, I am writing you now new commandments, but an old commandments that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 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. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 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.

There are a few things deserving our utmost care in terms of our assurance, and one of these is the assurance that we know God, or more directly, that He knows us. Our text gives us the surest indication that we have been chosen, redeemed, and loved by God.

  1. We follow the commandment of Christ willingly.
    Have you ever noticed that one of the evidences of citizenship is allegiance? You pledge allegiance to the flag; you must state your allegiance to the constitution, etc. The evidence that you are a Christian is your allegiance to Christ's commandments. The commandment called "old" (v.7) and "new" (v.8) is the same commandment. It's the command to love fellow followers of Christ (v.10). How do we know this?
    1. The words of Christ in John 13:34-35.
      "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all will know you are mine."
    2. The words of Christ in 2 John 4b.
      "And now I ask you—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another."
    3. The words of John in our text (vs. 9-11) about love and hate.
      "Whoever loves his brother abides in the light and there's no cause for stumbling. The surest evidence of Christ's grace in your life is your love for other Christians."
  2. We feel the character of Christ from the beginning.
    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 (v. 7). What people should hear when the gospel is preached is that Christ died for sinners and God offers forgiveness, hope and life-changing power to all who will trust Him.
    "The gospel contains not only the commandment to trust Jesus, but also the incredible promise that, in the power of that trust, you'll be changed into a loving person." (John Piper)
    "Love is the queen of all the Christian graces." (A.W. Pink)
  3. We find the conviction of Christ to be overwhelming.
    It is the person who has been touched by the light of the world that hates darkness. "Whoever hates... is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and doesn't know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (I John 2:11).
    1. Hate is the major sign of lostness and darkness.
      It is possible to be a "moral" person, a "religious" person, but all the while to be a lost person. The evidence that God has transformed you is your love.
    2. The Christian will never linger in his hate.
      This is why the sun will not go down on our anger. The desire to stew and to fester in your rage and in your bitterness comes from the prince of darkness.
    3. The confession of the believer brings cleansing.
      Sweetheart, I'm sorry. I have been unkind and unloving. Will you forgive me? The assurance of your conversion is your ability to display your love to others.

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