This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse.
Friday's post covered I John 2:1-7, which added another layer to the basic model John presented in I John 1. Here is the summary from the previous post:
John has added another layer onto the model he presented at the end of Chapter 1. This layer is made up of:
Here is the model after this layer has been added:
If we keep His commandments, then we will KNOW THAT we have Fellowship with God.
If we have Fellowship with God then we will:
-walk in the light because God abides in us
-have fellowship with each other
-confess our sins
-be cleansed by Jesus' blood and defended by Jesus when we do sin
We will KNOW THAT we DON'T have Fellowship with God if we lie by SAYING we know Him AND DON'T keep His commandments.
We are lying if we say:
-we have Fellowship with God and walk in the darkness
-we have no sin
If we say that we have not sinned:
-we are calling God a liar
-His Word is NOT in us
If we keep His Word then the love of God is perfected in us.
I John 2:1-7 is just another layer onto a model that the new believer already knew.
Today, we will see that John is going to share something new...
I JOHN 2:8-11
"8 Again, a new commandment write I unto you, which thing is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shineth."
The previous verse (I John 2:7) consisted of John stating that what he has shared so far is NOT a new commandment. Now, John wants to write about a "new commandment". What is this "new commandment"? We will see that John won't come right out and state it SPECIFICALLY. He is going to work his way up to it.
This verse gives us some hints:
-It is something that is TRUE in Him AND in you.
-The TRUE LIGHT is already shining.
For now, whatever this new commandment is, it is the true light that is in Jesus AND us.
John has just made a statement. Since this letter is philosophical and builds a model, it is time for John to take this statement (along with everything else that followed) through a series of IF/THEN statements. The result will be the model will add another layer. Here are John's next set of IF/THEN statements:
"9 He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in the darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.
11 But he that hateth his brother is in the darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because the darkness hath blinded his eyes."
It looks like John has introduced two more WORDS for us to understand before we can examine the EFFECTS of each IF/THEN statement. The first one is straightforward...
John refers to believers as "brother". The second WORD is more difficult to define...
hateth is Strong's #3404 miseo - "to detest (espec. to persecute); by extens. to love less"
We have covered "hate" in depth on this blog. However, THIS Series is where we REALLY need to understand what John means by the word "hateth".
The Greek WORD "miseo" seems to have two connotations: detest/persecute AND love less.
Remember, the MOST often quoted phrase from I John is "God is love". However, the Bible records that God "hates". If hate means "does not love", then God is NOT love. However, if "hate" means "love less", then it is possible for "God to love less" AND "God to be love".
Definitions are EXTREMELY important. WITHOUT accurate definitions, people can make the Word of God APPEAR to mean something DIFFERENT than God's intentions. Here is an excerpt from an earlier post that explains my process for determining definitions in God's Word:
Unfortunately, today most churches are a business. They don't teach God's non-contradictory Word. They teach man-made doctrines and use a book that states Jesus is NOT the Son of God. In fact, while we are here, let's look at a fundamental source of error that people actually embrace...
Yesterday, we saw that you think and speak in terms of WORDS. God thinks and speaks in terms of WORDS. We saw that WORDS are crucial. They are the fundamental building block. It would seem that if someone were REALLY interested in understanding God, they would begin with the meaning of SPECIFIC WORDS in God's Word. This begs the MOST IMPORTANT question: How do you determine the definition of a word in God's Word?
Take a moment and answer that question. It tells EVERYTHING about the way you think and speak and write...
Most people say "the dictionary". My Second Question would be: Who came up with the definitions in the dictionary? Your answer would be: a person...a "man". My Third Question would be: Are men flawless?
Is this any different with the words in the Bible?
Where do you get the definitions for the words in the Bible? Your answer: from a Concordance. My Second Question: Who came up with the definitions in the Concordance? Your answer would be: a person...a "man". My Third Question would be: Are men flawless?
Here is what I wrote on page 67 of "Modeling God":
"Unlike faith, there is no passage in the New Testament that gives the definition of grace. When we don't have a specific definition, we will begin our process by considering another source and then removing the contradictions until the definition agrees with the Bible. In this case, we will start with Strong's Concordance..."
1. Look to God's Word for a stated definition.
2. Look to Strong's Concordance and check God's Word for contradictions
3. Remove contradictions and check God's Word for contradictions
The Bible gives a definition for "faith". It gives a definition for "sin" based on the definition of "faith". (That which is done apart from faith is sin.) It DOESN'T MATTER what the man-made definition of "faith" and "sin" are. If they don't agree with God, then I'm going to go with God.
There are five occurrences of the word "fornication" in the Old Testament. All of them are LITERALLY idolatry and FIGURATIVELY adultery. Why does the Concordance define this word in the Old Testament as FIGURATIVELY idolatry and LITERALLY adultery? It looks to me like the man (or culture) that defined the word changed it from God's meaning. Do words change their meaning due to people?
"30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.
31 And Jehovah saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren." (Genesis 29:30-31, ASV)
God defined the word "hate" as "loved less"...even though the Hebrew word ISN'T defined this way. Who do you agree with? (By the way, the Greek word for "hate" in the New Testament IS defined as "loved less".)
The biggest reason that we have a contradictory interpretation for God's Word is that people have defined the key words in a contradictory fashion. Again, people are making God's Word and Will of NONE EFFECT...
(Excerpt from the post: Book Two: Modeling God's Wills)
Having said all this, John's context for this WORD is NOT "love less". If his context was "love less", then it wouldn't be ABSOLUTE and he would NOT be able to draw definite conclusions with his IF/THEN statements. It looks as if John's definition of this WORD is "detest/persecute".
Notice, it is possible for people to detest/persecute unjustly. It is NOT possible for God to be unjust. It would NOT be possible for God to initiate His detesting and persecution on someone. God ONLY moves against a person in RESPONSE to Justice. The person would have FIRST had to do something wrong for God to persecute him in RESPONSE to Justice.
When the Bible says God "hates" it means to "love less"...otherwise it would mean that God is NOT love.
This topic is challenging for me to address within this Series because I'm trying to go at John's pace. John has NOT defined "love". John has NOT defined the "new commandment". However, if you need to resolve these issues for yourself now, here are two posts that will probably answer your questions:
-Definition of hate based on definition of love
-Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated
For the purposes of this Series, John uses the word "hateth" to mean "detest/persecute"...which is the OPPPOSITE of love.
Now we can take John's statement through each IF/THEN statement...
IF: he SAYS he is in the light AND hates his brother
THEN: he is in darkness
People who SAY they are in Fellowship with God AND detest/persecute a believer are NOT in Fellowship with God.
John's new commandment: People who say they are in Fellowship with God and detest/persecute a believer do NOT have the TRUE LIGHT in them.
IF: he loves his brother
THEN: he is in Fellowship with God and there is NO OCCASION for stumbling.
People who love another believer are in Fellowship with God and CANNOT sin.
Stumbling refers to sin. Here is a link to a post that looks at how God explained to Cain how sin works: Old Testament Spiritual Warfare. There is NO WAY to sin if a person loves another believer. This makes it REAL important to understand John's definition of "love".
John's new commandment: People who love another believer have the TRUE LIGHT in them.
IF: he detests/persecutes a believer
THEN: he is NOT in Fellowship with God AND he does NOT KNOW where he is going because he is blinded by the darkness
People who detest/persecute believers are NOT in Fellowship with God and are blinded by the OBSCURITY (lack of SPECIFIC UNDERSTANDING).
John's new commandment: People who detest/persecute a believer do NOT have the TRUE LIGHT in them and are blinded by their lack of SPECIFIC UNDERSTANDING.
John has introduced a new commandment with two hints:
-It is something that is TRUE in Him AND in you
-The TRUE LIGHT is already shining
John states that people who detest/persecute believers are NOT in Fellowship with God and do NOT have this TRUE LIGHT in them.
John states that people who love believers are in Fellowship with God and have this TRUE LIGHT in them.
John equates having the TRUE LIGHT with Fellowship with God.
John has made a statement and then built on his model by taking this statement through three IF/THEN statements.
Tomorrow, we will see that John shares more of his objective before...what else?...continuing to build on his model by making a statement and then taking it through IF/THEN statements.