VERSE 9: The Darkness
Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
John uses the mechanism of repetition to create, clarify, and consummate meaning in his writings, and we find the metaphor of darkness employed in three sets of repetition:
1st John 1:5-6 (CSB) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. 6 If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
1st John 2:8-9 (CSB) Yet I am writing you a new command, 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 but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now.
1st John 2:11 (CSB) But the one who hates his brother or sister is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
John intends for these passages to be read together.
John’s metaphor of darkness is introduced by being juxtaposed to “the Light of God”, “fellowship”, and “truth” and we’re told that those who are in fellowship with God absolutely will not walk in the darkness.
Then John’s metaphor of darkness is shown to be expressed by “hate” and driven away by the true Light of Christ.
Lastly, John’s conclusion to his metaphor of darkness is that it blinds the eyes of those who hate their brothers and sisters.
John’s message declares that “darkness” is the perversion of God’s divine nature, holy fellowship, and truth that is expressed by hate and blinds our eyes. The reason people hate the children of God is that they have perverted his divine nature, are severed from holy fellowship, and have exchanged his truth for unrighteous deceptions.
Therefore, “hate” is the unholy end-expression of all evil in the same way that “love” is the holy end-expression of all godliness.