“And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” – 2 John 1:5-6
Here, in John’s letter to the elect lady, we read something very interesting. It’s a concept that is repeated often times in the gospels, many times by Christ Himself, but in this one simple passage all the other ones come together with mind blowing perfection and revelation.
John states that he is not telling her anything new, but rather is giving her the same command they have always been expected to walk in from old testament times to present. That is, to love one an other. He then explains that real love for God and for others will cause you to obey God’s commandments. Jesus said the same in John 14:15 when He states, “If ye love me, you will keep my commandments.”
You might ask, how is this the commandment that was given from the beginning when the Old Testament law gives us ten commandments (just to start with), and this was not one of them? Well, it’s simple and Jesus clears this up best when His disciples asked Him what the greatest command of all is, and He replies:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40
In this profound passage, Jesus states that not only is the greatest commandment to love God first, others second, and (by proxy) humbly esteem self last (Philippians 2:3), but He reveals that every law and commandment given by God through the prophets has always, from the beginning, been based on this one simple thing. Every commandment was an effort to teach man to stop being self centered and start putting God and others before their own selfish wants and desires. This is truly exemplified in the Ten Commandments when you look at them through the light of this new understanding of their true purpose.
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make yourselves idols (things you love more then God)
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
You see, if we truly love God most we will want to serve and please Him first. Therefore we will obey His words and will and we will not sin against Him causing us to fulfill the first 4 commandments by default. If we truly love others second (under God only) and ourselves last (under all) then we will not selfishly sin against others for our own pleasure or gain and we will fulfill the other 6 commandments by default. So John was right, to love God and love one an other is not a new commandment, but rather it is the same that was given from the beginning, simplified and exemplified through Christ, our example in the flesh of true, pure, selfless love and how it drives you to humble obedience to God’s word, will, and commandments, which is holiness at its purest.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” – Matthew 5:17
“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7-9