Today we are praying for the country of Eritrea in North Africa. Please help us lift up this nation to the Lord today. You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups. You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers. If you want to pray for more nations in North Africa and the Middle East you can click HERE and explore the different nations and peoples that makes up the region.
Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.
Please pray for the nation of Eritrea by joining in prayer with the video below.
Today's Devotional Thought
1 John 2:7-11 Part 2
We ended our time yesterday by asking, what is this new, fresh commandment John introduces in 1 John 2:8? (if you missed it go to www.missionsurge.comand catch up on the blog) It is the working out of the gospel…the old commandment. What does such a life look like? Let’s take some time to see, from verses 8-11, what that life does NOT look like first.
I. The one who hates
Verse 9 says, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.” This word “hates” can be literally translated as “detests.” We understand hatred as detesting someone or some group. That makes sense to us and it is perfectly biblical to say that if we hate someone, or detest someone, we are not giving evidence that we are believers in Christ who loves the least of these and the chiefs of sinners. We cannot hate our fellow man and name the Name of Jesus with a clear conscience!
Another way this word “hates can be translated is as “loves less.” We understand hatred in the sense of detesting another, but we don’t generally understand hatred as loving someone less. We need to see how Scripture defines and describes words to get our definitions however. Note the words of Jesus in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Clearly Jesus is not telling us to hate our father and mother and wife etc. while at the same time instructing us to love them and honor them and obey them is he? Clearly not. He is simply using this word hate as “to love less.” If we do not love our family less than Jesus we cannot be His disciple. Again in Luke 16:13 we read, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” To have two masters will result in one of those masters being loved less than the other. So, hate in our context could… “could”…refer to loving someone less.
As we consider this possibility, a key word in our text is “brother.” “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother…”. If we hate, detest or even love less our brother, we are treading on dangerous ground. This is not unique to John either. Take time to look up and consider James 2:1-11. Does he not point us in the same direction?
Please note that this does not mean that you must like each other equally or be friends with one another equally. We all have people we enjoying being around more than others. But, as believers, we love each other in Christ, equally, based upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If we detest or love less our brother or sister in the faith, we are in darkness. Verse 9 says, “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.” Notice that John reinforces this truth in verse 11: “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness.” What does this mean…in darkness? Consider the following two texts.
Acts 26:17b-18 I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me
1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
Based on these two passages, as well as many others, it seems that one in darkness would be one who is without Christ. An individual who is in darkness is lost. Consider the second part of verse 11, “and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” He does not know where he is going because he is blind. What does John mean by the term blind? Obviously he is referring to a spiritual blindness rather than a physical blindness. The apostle Paul described spiritual blindness in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
In summary, the one who hates his brother is one who either detests his brother or loves him less than others due to partiality. The one who hates his brother in this way is in darkness, without Christ, and spiritually blind. They clearly have not experienced the work of the old commandment in their lives, and are therefore not observing the new commandment…to love.
1. Is there any one, any group of people, and nation or culture that you hate or detest? What does this say about where you stand with God? How can you be a follow of Christ if you hate or detest those for whom Christ died?
2. Meditate on James 2:1-11. Consider how this sin might be prevalent in your church…in your life.
3. Define darkness based on Acts 26:17-18 and 1 Peter 2:9 above. Do you believe this is an accurate description of the darkness that John is referring to in 1 John 2? If so, how does this apply to your life?
4. Meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. Is the gospel veiled in your life, or in the life of someone you know and/or love? Why is this? What is the remedy for this? How does this new commandment, love, play into this?