Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Dec 6 2013 - 2 John – A new commandment?

As we have noted, John never tires of reminding us of the need to live a life of love. Love is the end and fulfilment of the law – not because it casts the law aside but rather because it delights to do the will of God.

But John writes about the call to love in a rather paradoxical manner. He refers to it as a new commandment (1 John 2:8) and yet it is not a new commandment (1 John 1:7), "but one we have had from the beginning" (2 John 1:5). How can this commandment be both new and yet not new; new but as old as time?

It is not new because it has been the pattern of life God intended from the beginning. He created the world in love and purposed that it should be a world of love. But we live in a spoilt world; a world spoilt by us – we who were created in the image of God, created to reflect his heart of love. Hence it is a new command; it is the life that has appeared anew in Jesus Christ. The call to love is a call to follow the pattern of life that has appeared in him – the pattern God intended for us from the beginning. In Jesus we become again the people God intended us to be.

This is why John is also concerned that those who have come to know, love and follow the Lord Jesus should remain in him – should go on walking in the truth. The danger is not only that some might turn back from following Christ but also that some might think that they can progress beyond what they have been taught. False teachers were telling Christians that what they had learnt from John were only the elementary truths of the spiritual life. If they wanted to be truly spiritual they needed to know the secrets of the higher life which they alone could teach them – they needed to progress beyond Christ. John is very blunt in what he says about such teaching; “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God” (2 John 9). Such teachers are deceivers and antichrists (v.7). Don’t welcome them or give them house-room (v.11).

For John, the test of sound Christian teaching is that it centres in Christ and never strays away from Christ. There is more than enough in the Lord Jesus Christ to fill us with wonder for all eternity. We need to learn more of him. We need more of him. We need to abide in him and in the truth of God that is found in him. We need to live out all that we have discovered in him – to walk in the truth.

Jesus be the centre
Be my source, be my light, Jesus

Jesus be the centre
Be my source, be my light, Jesus
     Be the fire in my heart
     Be the wind in my sails
     Be the reason that I live
     Jesus, Jesus

Jesus be the centre
Be my hope, be my song, Jesus
     Be the fire in my heart
     Be the wind in my sails
     Be the reason that I live
     Jesus, Jesus

Jesus be my vision
Be my path, be my guide, Jesus
     Be the fire in my heart
     Be the wind in my sails
     Be the reason that I live
     Jesus, Jesus

Jesus be the centre
Be my source, be my light, Jesus

Lord, this is our prayer, that you would be the centre and source of our lives even as you are the centre of the purposes of God and the source of all blessing. Help us to live in you. May your life fill us and flow from us to bring your love and life to others also – today, and always.

Peter Misselbrook