Summary: The real test of love is when things are offensive, trying, tough and tiring. Jesus did His best work under offense. John says this is a test of our true supernatural nature.
A Test for Living in the Light
"Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
Tests can be tricky.
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a true camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
8) What colour is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Orange, of course.
Mat 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
The Old and The New
1Jn 2:7-8 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
John begins this passage with somewhat of a riddle. This is not a new commandment because it is the old commandment. At the same time, it's all brand new because it's new "In Him". And it is new because it is new "in you".
Although we have saw the commandment newly perfected Him and newly shared in us, it was here from the beginning. It always was. The command for God’s people to love each other has been around since the Jewish Old Testament Law. Even in the Noahic Law, we saw Love:
Gen 9:1-6 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. 6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."
It was spelled out clearly in the Mosaic Law. Leviticus 19:18. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
1 John 4:8 tells us emphatically that "God is love". God's commandments were given to reveal to us God Himself.
Some say there are 613 laws in the Old Covenant. Some say there as many as 638. There were laws concerning how to treat your slaves, animals, neighbors, land, strangers, etc... The Jews believed the Decalog was a summary of the Law. They believed the 10 Commandments were the most important part of God's commandments.
Mat 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
Now look at 1 John 4: 15-16 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.