The Gospel and the three letters of the Apostle John contain some of the most beautiful words in the New Testament. It is John who tells us without a shadow of doubt that Jesus is God and the creator of the universe. It is John who homes in on the idea that we ‘abide in Christ’. It is John who speaks predominantly of love.
So what’s all this about commandments?
We need to look at this through the lens of what we have discovered about the character of Jesus and the significance of Grace. We know we are not under law, so what is John talking about? First of all we need to be aware that it would be completely wrong to assume that every time we see the words ‘command’ or’ commandment that they must refer to the Decalogue, in fact the ten commandments are nowhere mentioned in the New Testament as a group. Secondly the Greek word translated ‘commandment’ does not have the ‘do or die’ connotation associated with it in English. In fact it has a much more gentle meaning. It can be translated variously as an injunction, a precept, an edict a direction, a commission, or a charge of matters to be proclaimed or received.
Bear in mind that obedience comes from faith and not the other way round. [Rom 1:5]