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1 John 2:9 Updates American Standard Version (UASV)
9 The one who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness until now.
The one who says he is in the light. This could include the three following things: (1) Leading lives of holiness and purity; that is, the Christian must be characteristically a holy man, a light in the world, by his example. (2) Walking in the truth, embracing the truth in opposition to all errors of paganism and infidelity, and having clear, spiritual views of truth, such as the unrenewed never have. (See 2Cor. 4:6; 1Cor. 2:9-15; Eph. 1:18) (3) Enjoying the comforts of true Christianity; that is, having the joy which true Christianity is fitted to impart, and which it does impart to its true friends, (Psa. 94:19; Isa. 57:8; 2Cor. 1:3; 2Cor. 13:11.) In John 12:35 Jesus tells them, therefore, that the light would be with them a little while, and that they ought to improve the opportunity while they had it to listen to his instructions, to require with candor, and thus to forsake their false notions respecting the Messiah. It is probable that they understood this light as denoting the Messiah. See John 8:12; “I am the light of the world;” John. 9:4.
As he is in the light – In the same kind of light that he has. The measure of light which we may have is not the same in degree, but it is of the same kind. The true Christian, in his character and feelings, resembles God.
And hates his brother. The word brother seems here to refer to those who professed true Christianity. The word is indeed sometimes used in a larger sense, but the reference here appears to be to that which is properly brotherly love among Christians.
Is in darkness even until now. That is, he cannot have true Christianity unless he has a love for the brothers. The command to love one another was one of the most solemn and earnest which Christ ever enjoined (John 15:17;) he made it the peculiar badge of discipleship, or that by which his followers were to be everywhere known (John 13:35;) and it is, therefore, impossible to have any true Christianity without love to those who are sincerely and truly his followers. If a man has not that, he is in deep darkness, whatever else he may have, on the whole subject of true Christianity.
1 Thessalonians 4:9: For you yourselves are taught of God – The word here rendered “taught of God” – θεοδίδακτοί theodidaktoi – occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is correctly translated and must refer here to some direct teaching of God on their own hearts, for Paul speaks of their being so taught by him as to need no special precepts in the case. He probably refers to that influence exerted on them when, they became Christians, by which they were led to love all who bear the divine image. He calls this being “taught of God,” not because it was of the nature of revelation or inspiration, but because it was in fact the teaching of God in this case, though it was secret and silent. God has many ways of teaching people. The lessons which we learn from his Providence are a part of his instructions. The same is true of the decisions of our own consciences and of the secret and silent influence of his Spirit on our hearts, disposing us to love what is lovely and to do what ought to be done. In this manner, all true Christians are taught to love those who bear the image of their Savior. They feel that they are brothers, and such is their strong attachment to them, from the very nature of true Christianity, that they do not need any express command of God to teach them to love them. It is one of the first – the elementary effects of true Christianity on the soul, to lead us to love “the brothers” – and to do this is one of the evidence of piety about which there need be no danger of deception; compare 1 John 3:14.
By Albert Barnes