1 John 5:1-3

Old commandment: love one another. New commandment: Believe in Christ.

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1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been fathered by God, and everyone who loves the father loves the child fathered by him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God: whenever we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments do not weigh us down." (1 John 5:1-3)

We should have realized by now that God’s commandment, according to John, is that we love our fellow Christians. I want to demonstrate that John is still teaching us an Old Covenant way of life. Let us look at some of the verses that John wrote about this.

The one who loves his fellow Christian resides in the light (1 John 2:10).

The one who does not love his fellow Christian – is not of God (1 John 3:10).

We should love one another, not like Cain who was of the evil one (1 John 3:11).

We have crossed over from death to life because we love our fellow Christian (1 John 3:14).

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us (1 John 3:23).

7Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8).

If we love one another, God resides in us (1 John 4:12).

The one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him (1 John 4:16).

And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too (1 John 4:21).

In summary:

• If you don’t love fellow Christians: you’re not of God, you’re of the evil one, you don’t know God.
• If you do love fellow Christians: you reside in the light, you crossed over from death to life, you have been fathered by God, God resides in you.

You must conclude that John is not simply encouraging us to love other Christians, but rather expressing a gospel of salvation based on our ability to love other Christians. It’s a gospel of works.

This gospel contradicts the gospel of grace that says we are saved by grace and faith in what Christ has done for us on the cross.


37Jesus said to him, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

When Jesus gave the love commandment, he had a different intention than John. John gave it as a golden rule for people to follow, whereas Jesus used it to demonstrate how far man has fallen short of God’s glory.

If the “golden rule” has brought someone to the realization that they will never be able to achieve God’s standard of perfection, they will kneel at the foot of the cross, expressing their need for God’s grace and mercy. They realize at the cross that:

For no one is declared righteous before him by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).

Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith (Galatians 3:11).

They are now to serve God in a new way, guided by the Spirit rather than the old written code.

But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code (Romans 7:6).

John seems to be stuck under the Old Covenant. Maybe he is the one who doesn’t know God, because if he does, he would have realized that God has now given those who belong to him a new commandment: to trust in the One he has sent.

27Do not work for the food that disappears, but for the food that remains to eternal life – the food which the Son of Man will give to you. For God the Father has put his seal of approval on him.” 28So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the deeds God requires?” 29Jesus replied, “This is the deed God requires – to believe in the one whom he sent.” (John 6:27-29)

Nghi Nguyen

- Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion on the topic, which does not necessarily reflect the church's theology, or beliefs of the individuals in it — Nghi Nguyen

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