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The Truth – Week 48 / November 23rd
“The Elder, to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.”
2 John 1-2
John the Apostle writes to a local church, probably that of Rome, but because of persecution refrains from giving specific details of the church concerned; the church is simply, an “Elect Lady with her children.” The burden that John carries however is that of knowing the truth and living by it. We live in a Christian world today that is so experience orientated that truth is very often lost in the euphoria of desiring to experience the supernatural. The chaos that this brings to the Church is immeasurable though few see it and the casualty of all of this is truth! So here we are told to:
Love in truth (1-3)
The context reveals that this love is not just a fuzzy emotional feeling but indeed anchored to an external body of teaching, called the word of a God, that is indeed eternal. It is this truth that “abides in us” by Jesus Christ that regulates our relationship with others. In fact, if others do not embrace this truth and still purport to be Christian we are to reject them and not even greet them! How unloving, by many people’s standards, is that? The truth matters and we are to love it in order to properly love others. Love desires the best for people and there can be no higher good than giving people a body of truth that leads them to eternal life. This is John’s message and we should hear it clearly.
Love by the truth in us (4-6)
Jesus is the truth that lives in us and He is the Son of the living God. That is, He is one with the Father from all eternity and is himself God. He alone brings us into fellowship with God and we cannot have such a relationship with God our Father if we bypass Him. The truth of scripture is clear, no one can know the God of Israel by rejecting the truth of who His Son is and what He did for the world on the cross. God lives in us only by Jesus Christ!
We can only love one another in truth if we allow the life of Jesus us to flow through us. This is a commandment that was from the beginning, meaning that it was settled once for all in the Torah or five Books of Moses. Here we read:
“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
When Jesus lives in us because of the truth we embrace from God’s word then loves becomes empowered by the Holy Spirit and makes an impact upon people’s lives. There can be no other path to manifesting the true love of God. This is John’s message to all of us.
Love in watchfulness (7-11)
Even the early Church was beset by deceivers who infiltrated and corrupted it. John is mindful that the spirit of Antichrist is at work in the world and that it essentially attacks the person and work Jesus. He is thus clear that love is watchful and does not abide anyone who denies the nature of Jesus’ work, in the flesh, on the cross. Today, sadly many Christians have little understanding of what took place on the cross and therefore they easily embrace people who contradict the nature of Christ’s identity and work, all in the name of love. In so doing they share in the “evil deeds” of these people, all in the name of love! We are to know the “doctrine of Christ” as he puts it. We must be watchful for if not we will not receive a “full reward.”
John closes his short letter by reminding us that to stand for the truth can be a costly business. We therefore have to be “wise as serpents” and here he is just that because he recognizes the folly of committing too much truth to, “paper and ink”. The lesson is clear we should not compromise the ongoing impact of God’s truth by giving evil people the opportunity to attack it.