The previous generation had to discover love for and within the church. But we cannot rely on this. We have to discover it ourselves. We cannot simply presume that because we have faith we have love. John is moving into challenging those within the church who are weakening it because of their divisive ways.
“Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” (1 John 2 v 7-8)
Let’s go back to the beginning: ““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18)
It was new at the time of Moses but by the time of Jesus it was an old command.
So look what happens, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13 v 34).
It was new but by the time of John’s audience it had already become old.
John says I have an old command but I am making it new, freshening it up for this generation. ‘The content of this command is true in Jesus and for this generation and especially for us.’ That was John’s heart because since his Revelation he knew the evil present age would soon be over and the light of Jesus was still shining.
He will say more and it will provoke further. But here today, let us in our generation as we wait for the return of Christ find a freshness in the command to love one another.