Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. I John 2:7-8
The “old commandment” here, is of course the Great Commandment found in Deuteronomy 6:5, and was later quoted by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-39. We are commanded to “love the Lord, thy God, will all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy might”.
We are not being given a brand-new commandment, but rather a new expansion of the old. Christ perfectly fulfilled the old commandment, something that was impossible for us to do in the strength of our flesh. God knew this and that is why the law is described in Galatians as a “schoolmaster” to bring us to grace. Isn’t it interesting that the first fruit of the Spirit is love? Our love for God is a response to the grace and love of God.
Jesus completely fulfilled this law in His life and work. John saw this demonstration of divine love and realized that via fellowship with Christ, we now have the ability to fulfill this commandment to a degree that is acceptable to God.
This commandment was not new in its substance, but in the expectation and manner of its fulfillment. The bottom line is that love of the brethren is not optional for Christians, it is both feasible and expected.
We demonstrate our love for God in our love for the brethren. How much of God’s love is seen in your life?