“A New Commandment”

The present dispensation finds the believer serving God “in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom 7:6). God’s “pleasure” (Phil 2:13) went from serving Him within the constitution of one’s own life, to that which can only be accomplished within the constitution of the “life” of His Son (Col 3:4; Zec 4:6).

When a lawyer of the Pharisees “tested” (Mat 22:35) the Lord Jesus, their conversation remained entirely within the realm concerning the “Law” (v 36). Until the Spirit was given (John 7:39), love to God was limited to one’s heart, soul and mind (Deu 6:5), and love to others was limited to a neighbor within the like manner of love to self (Lev 19:18); and “no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it” (Eph 5:29).

Hence the phrase a new commandment, which—“takes in more, and "new" objects; since by "neighbor" there, seems to be meant "the children of their people," the Jews; and so they understood it only of their countrymen, and of proselytes at furthest, whereas this reaches to any "other" person; see Romans 13:8; and as the measure, as well as the motive is new, for it is not now "as thy self," but "as I have loved you," the Jew has no reason to object as he does, to its being called a "new commandment": and its being "new," carries in it a reason or argument, why it should be observed.” JG