John wrote in a confusing way about an “old command” that is a “new command.” (For more about that, see: John vs. John Lennon) The “old command” (Love your neighbor) is made new, by Jesus redefining what love is. Jesus’ kind of love, the “new command” He gave, is simple to describe but impossible to do. Love, He taught, is a choice to put aside what I want in order to minister to what you need. Sounds simple, but it is impossible on our own, because we are wired by our experiences in this world to “take care of number one” as a number one priority. Jesus’ kind of love doesn’t make sense in our world; it only makes sense when you see the world through His lenses, His “logos.” That Greek word, weakly translated in English as “word,” really goes way deeper. It describes a whole mindset and understanding of reality.
When you read a book, and are observed doing so by your dog, your “logos” of what you are doing is very different from your dog’s “logos” of what is happening. See that?
Jesus’ commands fit beautifully when you understand His “logos.” In a very real sense, His commands are a part of His way of seeing reality. That is why, in 1 John 2:7, John wrote, “This old command is the message (that’s the word, “logos”) you have heard.”
When you live in Jesus’ logos, His kind of love emerges in what you do, not from self-effort but from the Holy Spirit, living within you. (See: Who Can Fix It?) That is why John wrote about this “new command”:
…its truth is seen in him (Jesus) and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
John said that the light of Jesus shines in those who have come to Him by faith. Already.
You are probably thinking, “If this means I must perfectly resemble Jesus in every way, I’m so far off that mark it’s hopeless…” Don’t freak out. Instead, look carefully at the verbs in verse 8 above:
… its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
When someone surrenders to Jesus by faith, receiving His gift of forgiveness and fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit begins to live within his or her soul, as God always intended. (See: Who Can Fix It?) In John’s words, “the true light is already shining.” However, that person is still profoundly shaped by all of life’s experiences and illusions. Those habits, personality traits and outright addictions don’t simply vanish. John says “the darkness is passing.”
Picture a bright light shining in a room full of smoke so thick you can hardly see it. A window is raised for fresh air to blow through the room. The smoke is passing, but the light is already shining.
Jesus shines through the life of those who have fully trusted Him. They are not perfect; they may not even be aware of how He is doing so at any one moment. However, “the truth is seen,” John says, in Jesus and in you, too. That’s how we know we know Jesus. That’s how they know, too.