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2 John: Truth and Love

The beauty of the two trees reflect the beauty of truth and love in a believer's life.
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt Images

February 21, 2024

Praying Friends,

Truth and love are foundations to the lives of believers. Both originate with God, both are exemplified by God, and both are meant to be lived out by God’s people. 

In the second letter of John, this is what he is emphasizing. As John writes this short letter, he addresses it to the lady chosen by God. We are not told her name, but obviously God knows it as He chose her to be one of His own children. 

John’s first statement to this woman sets the tone for the rest of the letter. He addresses her by saying, “whom I love in the truth” (2 John 1:1). There was a genuine love for this woman (not romantic) based on the truth that she was a child of God. There is no mention of her personality, her status, her interests, or her gifts. She was loved, sought out, chosen, and preserved by God; therefore John says, “I love you in the truth.”

He continues on the theme of truth by saying, “not I only, but also all who know the truth — because of the truth, which lives in us and will be in us forever” (2 John 1:1-2).

The love that he had for this lady was not limited to himself but to all who know the truth. Those who truly know the truth know Jesus! According to what John writes in his gospel, Jesus clearly stated, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). And those who know Jesus practice love.

Because Jesus is alive, and lives inside us through the Holy Spirit, the truth also lives within us. While sometimes the truth is articulated as facts, the truth of the gospel lives in us with all the fulness and vitality of God Himself. 

Because Jesus is alive for evermore, the truth will be, as John states, “in us forever.” We will one day die and pass from this life into eternity, but the truth within us will never die. 

John is filled with joy as he witnesses the truth being lived out in the lives of God’s people. “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (2 John 1:4). The mention of children could refer to the literal sons and daughters of this lady or possibly to her children of faith. Whichever, it doesn’t matter. When you see other believers acting in the way of truth, it is both delightful and uplifting. 

What exactly does it mean to walk in the truth? John answers by referring to the command of God, which they had heard from the beginning, namely — love one another (2 John 1:5).

“And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, he commands that you walk in love” (2 John 1:6). To walk in truth is to walk in love; the two go hand-in-hand. As we obey God’s Word (walk in truth), we also walk in love.

Sometimes we get the idea that truth and love are somehow opposites that are pitted against each other. This is not true! To obey the truth is to love God, and to love God is to walk in truth. This love should be reflected in our love to God’s people. To obey the truth is to love God’s people, and to love God’s people is to walk in truth. 

John emphasizes the importance of truth and love because of the danger of being deceived by those who don’t know or love Jesus.

The sad story of the first century that John was combatting against is still a reality — that many deceivers have tried to twist and corrupt the simple teaching of truth. The truth that the Lord Jesus out of divine love came into our world as a human being. This is a necessary and fundamental truth that we believe and love. The warning that John gives is to continue in the teaching of Christ (2 John 1:9).

John kept his letter short because he wanted to visit and talk with this lady face to face. So in the spirit of John, I, too, would like to keep this article short and hopefully get to see you all at some point in the near future. Writing is good, but seeing someone face to face is a much more satisfying and fulfilling way to communicate.

Thank you all for praying for our prodigals and for revival among us.

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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