1 John 2:7-10
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. 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.
John says Christians LOVE
Notice that John says this commandment isn’t new – but it’s old. In other words, John agrees with Jesus that love is the fulfillment of the law.
Matthew 22:36-40 (someone asked Jesus…)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus said in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
But wait, a little further down in 1 John 2:15 – John says Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
What’s that about? How do we love others – but NOT love the world? Aren’t ‘other people’ – the world? Well, not necessarily – I think we can agree that the Bible would never tell you to NOT love someone – rather John is talking more about worldliness, property and materialism – and he touches on that in the next passages.
v16 says, For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
John says it’s not the world per se, but rather “all that is in the world” and notice what he lists:
Desires of the flesh – this is lust, right? This is not the God-made bond of love or marriage, but rather the sinful desire of our carnal nature. This is the objectifying of God’s image – this is demoralizing of another human being and John lists this as one of the ‘loves of this world.’
Another one John lists is the Desires of the Eyes – this is our craving isn’t it? Our pressured need to always have more and better. This is when we replace God as our want and we put objects and possessions in His place. This is when we say, “Oh I’ll be happy when I get a bigger house. We’ll finally be ok when I have a bigger truck. I just need 14 more pairs of shoes and everything will be fine.” We try to find our identity in things – and not in God. And wouldn’t you know, that’s the first sin in the Bible!
This is how the snake tempted Eve! Right? With feelings of inadequacy, with feelings of less…. the snake said, “Oh you’re unhappy, but do you know what would make you feel better? Knowledge. Here, take this shortcut… have a bite.” And the snake tried to convince Eve - that what?
That disobedience wasn’t sin. Right there – in Genesis – the seeds and the beginning of false doctrine. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, he used the same tactic. Satan told Jesus, “Hey, you’re a King, you’re a pretty big deal – tell you what – worship me, and I’ll give you all the Kingdoms of the world.”
And then lastly John lists ‘the pride of life’ And certainly this is not being proud in ones’ work or their accomplishments, or even a sense of a job well-done. John is talking about arrogance and self-importance. It’s the parading of your new SUV down the street, or the ‘showing off’ of your new home. It’s where you hold your status over another person and you say, ‘see how much better my life is than yours.’ Don’t you wish you were me? You see – the desires of the eyes, is where you want someone else’s life, but the pride of life is when you make someone else want YOUR life.
Paul talks about this worldly love in Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
John says “Yes, love the world – but not to the point of being worldly.
Yes, love each other, but not to the point where you desire their bodies, or their life.”