As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been studying the book of 1 John, verse by verse. This past week, we studied 1John 2:1-11. And as the week progressed it got more difficult. Especially once the topic of love & hate came up. And I had a very hard to fathom what kind of love God demands from His children. John writes in 1 John 2:9: “If anyone claims, ‘I am living in the light,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.” This verse and the following ones got me thinking about loving & hating. And I realized there’s actually nothing in-between. It’s either the one or the other. It’s either you walk in the light or you walk in the darkness. You either love your Christian brother/sister or you don’t.
BUT, as I watched this morning’s webcast on http://www.goodmorninggirls.org/ and as I reflected on the WHOLE passage, right from the start of verse 1 to the end of verse 11, I realized that John was very clever in his writing. And I only saw it once I started to go back from verse 11 to verse 1. Because going back from verse 11 to 1 it increasingly encourages me, as I see more and more HOPE.
Verse 11 is very negative, and if I read the passage verse by verse from the 11th to the 7th, for example, John says, in verse 7: I’m not telling you anything new. It’s what you’ve always known from the beginning. You’ve heard it before, it’s the same message. Then in verse 8 he says, “Yet it is also new.” and why is it new? Because of Jesus!!! He “lived the truth of this commandment”, and he continues saying, “and you are also living it.”
And when you continue reading the verses 6 to 1, I see that at the end of it – or rather at the beginning:<))) - John encourages us to read his writing, this letter of 1 John, so that we don't sin. In one of the commentaries it said this: we need to read Scripture over and over and fill our head completely with God's word. That will help us not to sin. And I do agree with that!
Then, John continues to encourage us: “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” Praise You, Jesus!!!
See, it never occurred to me at the beginning of this week, that John was giving us much encouragement before we even got to the hard part! I think I would despair if I would not have this encouragement. Loving my neighbor, loving my brother/sister etc. is an act of obedience. And since I am human, I will not always succeed. But John explained in verse 1 that there is HOPE! It’s Jesus Christ, my Advocate!