Everything Old is New Again


Love is the greatest commandment.1 Love is the new commandment.2 Or is it?

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
– 1 John 3:11, ESV

This phrase, “from the beginning” is all over 1st John. You can scarcely scan a single page of the letter without finding the phrase at least one time if not more. Jesus said he was giving a new commandment,2 that we love one another, but John says that commandment has been in place from the beginning! So, the command to love is a new commandment (in some sense) from Jesus, but it’s not new because it’s been the commandment forever.

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 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.
– 1 John 2:5b-10, ESV

When we compare the gospel of John to the epistles of John, we find consistency in this message, and that message links back to “the beginning” of Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:1-5, ESV

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.
– 1 John 1:1-2, ESV

I am writing to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
    because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
    because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
    because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
    because you are strong,
    and the word of God abides in you,
    and you have overcome the evil one.

– 1 John 2:13-14, ESV [bold emphasis, mine]

Later in that same chapter, John says this:

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father
– 1 John 2:24, ESV

So, the new commandment is really an old commandment, and it is all wrapped up in yet another reality, an eternal reality that John tells us, the reality that love is of God and that God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
– 1 John 4:7-8, ESV

In John 17, Jesus prayed that gut-wrenching prayer. At the end of the chapter, Jesus, again, ties love to the foundation/beginning of the world.

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
– John 17:24-26, ESV

Love has been at the core of God’s plan and the essence of his being since before the dawn of time itself. Therefore we can strive after no greater aspiration, no more godly attribute than to be men and women who love.

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.
– John 13:34, ESV

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
– 1 Corinthians 13:13, ESV

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

Twitter – @DamonJGray
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1. Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34
2. John 13:34-35
3. 1 John 4:7

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Damon J. Gray

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