1 John 2:9-11
He that said he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now.…
I. BROTHERLY LOVE CONSISTS IN THIS — that they in whom, as in Christ, this thing is true, that the darkness is passing and the true light is shining, recognise one another as, in that character and on that account, brethren. For, first, in Christ, our position with reference to that darkness is changed from what it naturally is. It is reversed. The terrible flood is not now carrying us away; we stem it holding Him — He holding us. We see it passing. Now all is changed. By grace in Christ I am in a new way. As I feebly open my heavy eyes in the upper atmosphere I am now beginning to breathe, what bright warm beam is that which lightens up the face of Him in whose arms I am, and lightens up my heart as I look and gaze on Him and cling and grow to Him? It is the Father loving me as He loveth Him. It is "the darkness passing and the true light now shining." Then, as the first confused and rapturous joy of my own narrow escape becomes collected and calm, I look around. And I see Him — for He multiplies Himself and is everywhere — I see Him doing the same kind office to one, and another, and another still, that He is doing to me, I see Him embracing them because He loved them and gave Himself for them. Shall I not hail them as my brethren? Can I hate, or refuse to love, one who is my brother on such a footing as that?
II. Hence it is that the existence of this brotherly love is A FITTING TEST OF OUR BEING "IN THE LIGHT." At all events, the absence of it is conclusive proof that we are not. Light is in itself — in its very nature and bare shining — a great extinguisher of hatred, especially of hatred among those who should be brethren. It is in the darkness that mistakes occur and misunderstandings arise. It is in the darkness that injuries are brooded over and angry passions nursed. If you, brother, and I, are at variance, it is almost certain to be because there is some darkness about us that hinders us from seeing one another clearly. Hence we imagine evil of one another and impute evil to one another. Let in the light. Let us see one another clearly. Differences between us may still remain; our views of many things may be wide as the poles asunder. But we see that we are men of like passions and like affections with one another. The light shows us that we are true brethren in spite of all.
III. The exercise of brotherly love is fitted to be THE MEANS OF OUR CONTINUING IN THE LIGHT, So as to avoid the risk of falling (ver. 10). Two benefits are here. First, positively, by means of brotherly love we abide in the light. The law of action and reaction is here very noticeable. Being in the light begets brotherly love, and brotherly love secures abiding in the light. For this brotherly love is simply love to the true light, as I see it shining in my brother as it shines in Christ. And such love to the true light, wherever and in whomsoever it is seen shining as it shines in Christ, must needs cause me to grow up more and more into the true light myself; to grow up into Christ and God in Christ. Secondly, "there is none occasion of stumbling in Him." This is a negative advantage; but it is great. Saved yourselves by grace, gratuitous and rich and full; loved with an everlasting love; grasped in the arms, in the bosom, of Him in whom and in you, as now one, "the darkness is passing and the true light is now shining" — your spirit is free, your heart enlarged. Being loved, you love. The scales of selfishness fall from off your eyes. Christ sends you to His brethren: "Go tell My brethren." And as you go to them with Christ's message and on Christ's errand, and make them more and more your brethren as they are His, you clearly see your way. He makes it clear. And you walk at liberty when you have respect to all His commandments, "loving your brother, and so abiding in the light."
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.