Verses 6-8 read,
“whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
7 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.”
When John said to “walk in the same way in which he walked.” He was referring to walking the way Jesus walked, doing what Jesus did. This wasn’t something new. Jesus obeyed the God’s Law. He walked in perfect obedience to the Father. He never sinned. He honored and glorified the Father above honoring ritual and tradition. Jesus loved the Father with His entire being and loved people tangibly. Hosea 6:6, which Jesus quoted twice in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:13 and 12:7) as well as referred to in Mark 12:33 reads,
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Mark 12:29-34 describe a conversation between Jesus and two scribes.
“Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.”
The scribe had come close to the Kingdom of God by understanding that those two commandments were much more important than offerings and sacrifices. The scribe understood it, he had head knowledge but it didn’t move to his heart. He was blind to the darkness, he walked in.
Once Jesus had come, following those two commandments that encompass the entire Law works itself out in Jesus new commandment in John 13:34
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
When Jesus came, the plan was put in motion and already completed to destroy Satan and abolish sin once and for all. When Jesus came, Satan was overcome. It is lived out in each of us when we are saved. It will come to fruition on the Day of Judgment. One day Jesus will be the light in New Jerusalem. (Revelation 22:5). But Jesus the true Light of God is also shining now in Believers. Matthew 5:14-16 reads,
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Being the light, glorifying Jesus is done by loving others as He loves. That means that if you hate someone, if you are harming someone, you’re not walking like Jesus walked. Verses 9-11 say it this way,
“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.”
You have to deliberately choose to follow Christ, intentionally opt to love others, and purposefully choose to live an honest open Jesus glorifying life. Not doing so is hating your brother. You are not giving him a real option to know God if you glorify yourself by pretending you don’t sin and therefore do not need Jesus. If you do not do the good works Jesus commands you to do for him, you are not only not loving him, you are harming him and thus hating him. Not seeing people with God’s heart but seeing them through our own selfish flesh, results in hate as well.
Those people are in the darkness and blinded to the truth. John didn’t want them to be blind, imagining all is well, feigning a walk with Jesus, even to themselves. He wanted them to know Jesus. Those people live carelessly, stumbling along, sinning themselves and keeping others in the dark as well. In verses 12-14 John encourages believers,
“I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
14 I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.”
His encouragement is to us all, to new believers, mature believers, young people, and older people. He reminds us our sins are forgiven we don’t have to hide them or continue in them. He tells us we know Everlasting God, our Creator. He says, Satan is defeated and we have nothing to fear from him. He says we know God as our Father. And He reminds us that Jesus, His will, and His truth abides in us and because of that we have incapacitated Satan.