8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him 11 But the one who 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. 1 John 2:8-11
If you understand John’s opening sequences in this letter and his gospel, you recall the words “what was from the beginning” or “in the beginning was.” We are talking about the same God that set up the universe and the perfect world in the garden, who was and is love, who has time and time again demonstrated perfect love in his actions and certainly in providing the means by one man’s love/sacrifice to restore our relationship with him to that which existed in the garden, albeit fully restored finally in heaven. Jesus is the epitome of God’s love. Wow that felt good. But he is also the God of light (John 1:5 and 1 John 1:5–how cool!).
But here’s the concept. Not deeply theological, just down to earth. Jesus has come and gone, though temporarily, and he’s left a new commandment to follow; the obedient narrow path set up by him on the way to glory. At the end of this path is pure light, but because we are still earthbound with partial knowledge (1 Cor. 13:9) and the “old man” in tow”, we can only manage to see the light dimly as we follow it (1 Cor. 13:12). It seems, though, with each obedient step the light grows stronger, not only to show us better the way, but to more clearly illumine our sin.
Then John introduces the concept of hate as a measure of the degree to which we are illuminated. Hate your fellow man? Unlikely that you are very far down the path. In fact, you may still reside in total darkness. But with simple obedience our pride and prejudice begins to rise to the surface like dross, as we burn away the impurities of our fallenness. But I am mixing metaphors. Sorry.
This letter is all about walking in light. Walking the path set before us by God. If we walk the path in dim light, we will stumble, yes indeed. But as John puts it, ironically, the darkness totally blinds the eyes. Better to see dimly than to be blinded by darkness. With each step toward the light, more light is revealed. More blemishes become visible in our character, but more knowledge of God to deal and dispense with them.
Positionally with one step of faith we step into full and blazing light from utter darkness (Col. 1:13). Practically, by definition, the walk of faith, i.e. walking in love, in the Spirit, in truth, etc., requires the assistance of an all-seeing Savior who has been there and back (2 Cor. 5:7).