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LEARNING TO LIVE IN THE TRUTH

As we begin our study of the epistle of 2 John 1:4-6, we are given to understand that John had only met some of the believers in the church and was glad to find them living in the truth.  John was probably speaking of those he met at some place other than the local church itself.  His joy at meeting them and then discovering that they were living in the truth prompted him to write this epistle.  In identifying only “some” of the children, he was not necessarily excluding the others.  Rather, he was speaking only of those he met.  In both cases, the apostle rejoiced in the believers who had not allowed the false teachers to lead them away from the truth.

Living in the truth refers to the Christians conducting their lives as they had been commanded by the Father.  The commandment to live in the truth came from the Father through the Son to the disciples, who passed it on to the believers.  As John had explained in another letter.  “And this is his commandment:  We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.”  (1 John 3:23).  To live in the truth, therefore, involves believing in Jesus Christ as God’s Son (faith) and loving others (action).

Now as we look at verse (1:5), we see that John urged the church to love one another.  This was not a new commandment: the believers had heard this from the beginning.  The Christians had been taught this commandment from the time they first heard the gospel preached.  The statement that Christians should love one another is a recurrent New Testament theme.  Yet love for one’s neighbor is an old command, first appearing in the third book of Moses (Leviticus 19:18).  Believers can show love in many ways: by avoiding prejudice and discrimination, by accepting people, by listening, helping, giving, serving, and by refusing to judge.  Knowing God’s command is not enough.  Those who claim to love God and believe in his Son must put their faith into practice by loving.  (Look at Matthew 22:37-39 and 1 John 2:7-10).

In verse (1:6) lest anyone wonder what John meant by the word “love,” he explained it here.  Love does not focus on emotions or feelings; instead, love means doing what God has commanded.  Love is expressed by obedience; obedience fulfills the command to love.  The one command to love one another sums up all of God’s commands, and obedience to God’s commands is the sure test of love.  John made the same proclamation in his first letter (see 1 John 3:11, 16-19).

Four times in verse 4-6 appears a form of the word”command.”  Yet the commands are obeyed through love.  John wanted his readers to know that he spoke as an Elder, as an apostle, and as a loving father to his children–with authority from God himself.  The false teachers had no such authority, and their lifestyles did not exemplify love.

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