Monday, January 2, 2012

First John Chapter Two, Part Five

2:9-11 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. Here John lays down more simple tests for Christian fellowship. This test hinges on what a man says verses what a man practices. If he says he is in the light (abiding in Christ) yet manifests hatred toward a brother in Christ, he is a liar. He is in darkness; he has forsaken fellowship with Christ by choosing to hate those for whom Christ died. We know John is still referring to brethren because he uses the intimate term “brother” when addressing one man hating another; “he that hateth his brother…”

I recently heard a friend tell me that during a philosophy class he was taking in school there was a young Christian woman there who had an unusual view regarding capitol punishment. She didn’t want capitol punishment for believers because if they were truly saved and were executed they would go to Heaven, and she wanted them to suffer a long time before going there if they committed a crime worthy of said punishment. Whatever else one can take away from this story one thing is clear: this young woman is in darkness, and knows not where she goes. Jesus describes such behavior when He says, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye,” Matthew 7:2-5.

This harsh judgment upon other believers is how the judge in question will be treated when they come before God. There is a difference between admonishing one for his sins, and breaking fellowship because of sin; then there is wishing malice and ill-will on believers because apparently you never sin. The sins of some are clearly manifest; it is the hidden ones that are more dangerous because we don’t judge them to be as awful. Outright murder is worse than some clever lies, right? Wrong. Sin is sin in God’s eyes, and He who wrote with His own finger, “Thou shalt not kill” also wrote “Thou shalt not bear false witness (lie),” Exodus 20:13, 16.

He that loves his fellow Christian abides in the light, according to John. He adds that there is no occasion for stumbling in him. Why is this? Love does no wrong to a neighbor, so love is the fulfillment of the law, Romans 13:10. If you are truly loving your brother in Christ you are, without striving by your own effort, abiding in Christ. His love is perfected in you who bear the burdens of others with them, Galatians 6:2. We’re called on to love one another, pray for one another, admonish one another, build one another up and serve one another; we are not called upon to hate one another, exalt ourselves over one another, or practice partiality with one another. Such who do these things are shortsighted, even to blindness, 2nd Peter 1:9.

To those who never seek out fellow believers but have their comfortable little pool of Christians they always gather to, we are missing our purpose! Love is an active verb in the New Testament; we cannot love our brother idly. God’s love is never idle, and neither should we be. If you have a warped view of other Christians rest assured John, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has given you the diagnosis for your condition: you are walking in darkness. When you are in the dark your perception is skewed; you don’t see things as they are, you see shadows and your eyes play tricks on you. It may be the very Christian you hate is a more spiritual Christian than you and your hatred is a form of resentment or insecurity. Come out of the darkness so you might see clearly. If you are unsure how, Christ our Lord informs us.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent,” Revelation 3:18-19.

1 comment:

  1. Somebody once said if a hypocrite is standing between you and the Lord, he has to be closer than you are.

    Great post.


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