1 John 2:7-14
What John is writing is not some new way of trying harder to please God and live for him. He doesn't have 7 top tips for being a better Christian. All he has is the message that was passed on to him - the good news - and this is plenty enough for what we need. But then he seems to contradict himself as he's thinking. On the other hand, perhaps it IS new in a way because for John's readers, the fresh expression of God's light and love in the person of Jesus Christ was a brand new experience altogether. And the idea that God's Spirit is living in all Christians was a brand new concept too! It's the same God that they had known all along but now a new depth of personal intimacy with that God was now available and this would have blown them away.
John talks more about what it means to be walking in the light in terms of loving others, especially other believers. Isn't it sad that Christians so often exclude or judge other members of God's family on secondary issues (important as they may be)? We should ask ourselves who it is that we will enjoy eternity with and then start practicing now! Why should we exclude those whom God has included?
John then goes on to tell his readers why he's writing to them. It's not about 10 steps to a successful Christian life or anything like that. It's about one step - into the light, and then another, and another. Knowing God more and more and allowing his character to build our own. It should be a natural process, not a determined plan. John reminds us that if we are Christians:
- ...our sins have been forgiven (v12)
- ...we know the eternal God, our Father (v13, 14)
- ...we have already overcome the evil one (v13)
- ...we are strong (v14)
- ...the voice of God lives in us (v14)
It's good to try our best, but better to remember that we are God's best.