Wednesday, January 30, 2013
2nd John Part 5
1:4-5 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
John rejoices over the fact that some of this woman’s children are walking in the truth. It delights the apostle to know that the reception of the gospel has landed in the fertile soil of prepared hearts and has yielded a harvest of obedience. I use the word prepared not in any Calvinist sense, but with the notion that if someone sets their heart to find God, God will reward them with Himself as He promised, Jeremiah 29:13.
Here the apostle reiterates what he already had made known in his first epistle; that the motivator behind the Christian life is supposed to be active love, 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15. God gave this command to ancient Israel, Leviticus 19:18. The intricacies of the Law, given in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, numbering more than 600 various commandments, were succinctly and beautifully summarized in this verse. The apostle James refers to this golden verse as the royal law, James 2:8. Twice Paul asserts that all the law—that is, every commandment—is fulfilled in this single amazing verse, Romans 13:9-10; Galatians 5:14. It is the command Jesus Christ gave us the night before His arrest and execution, John 13:34-35. It was then the two-fold command given to Israel at their inception as the nation chosen as God’s people and to the Christian church as the motivating power that would bring the life saving message of the gospel to a lost world.
Jesus told us that love for God and love for our neighbor were the summit of the commandments; these were the greatest commandments according to God the Son, Mark 12:29-31. Note however that Jesus began with the declaration to Israel that there was but one God, and we were to recognize this and only bring our worship to the throne of this one true God. This is one reason why we are commanded to love in truth; not in pretense, ignorance or deceit. False gods aren’t blurry pictures of the true God that Yahweh winks at and accepts the worship of; no, He commands that all men turn from these idols fronted by demons to the worship of the true Creator of the universe and Redeemer of mankind. There is salvation in no other, Acts 4:12. Unless you have come to know the Christ revealed in the Bible as your Savior He does not know you, nor will He acknowledge you, Matthew 7:23; 25:12.
John could write from the perspective of the Jew whose people had first received this divine mandate, and as an apostle sanctioned to bring the gospel to the world. Note that John does not practically differentiate between truth and love. He rejoiced that this woman’s children walked in truth, and he writes to urge her that they continue to love one another in such a way. A Christian walking in the truth of Scripture is a saint yielded to the Holy Spirit, and producing in his life the fruit of the Spirit, which is a blessing more for those around him than for the saint himself, Galatians 5:22-23.