1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,
2 John 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
2 words – spoken often and used quite a bit in today’s age but seldom practiced: Truth and Love.
Almost like an endangered species, truth is sidelined. People tell what they want others to hear. They speak words that are ‘part of the story’ but not the whole. Many times words are taken from context and used to another’s advantage. True truth is hard to find at times.
Then there’s love. The word is flippantly thrown here and there within conversations. It’s tagged at the end of many a dialogue with one another. We almost become saturated with the concept of love from the novel to the television show to songs on the radio. Genuine love however is many times scarce to find. The kind of love that is self-sacrificing; The love that is practiced with others in genuine care and concern. Instead, it seems we look out for Number One above all else.
The Person of Jesus however is the absolute complete definition and physical manifestation of both these words. He is truth and love.
In John’s second writing he speaks boldly toward these attributes of Believers. We as followers of Christ must be marked by these words. We not only are to be following the ways of Jesus in complete truth, but living that truth in all our dealings. As Christ set the example of the highest attribute of love, the bar has been set to not love in word but in deed. Love is to mark us.
This writing of John is brief. Yet, the message here is a guideline for all of our days. He tells us to walk in truth, obey God and deeply love one another. 3 statements tying together marking the character of a genuine follower of Christ. Recommit in these moments to renew your own steadfastness to these qualities.
2 John 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
We read in 2 John a more traditional opening as it’s a letter written to a particular individual. However, we can assume this was written to a larger group of people as it probably would have been circulated among a congregation or a localized area of churches. The topic is the same issue that John tacked in his first writing – false teachers.
I was thinking today about how people in our current culture respond to warnings. It’s not very positive. Here in America, in the age of information and technology, there is an attitude of independence and self-reliance. “I don’t need to listen to you because I have ________.” Furthermore, the enemy has convinced this culture that warnings and drawing hard lines of truth are not loving, but hateful.
Love must stand the test of truth. If my first-grader asks to play in the street, and I tell her it’s fine, I’ve lied to her. I’ve led her astray. Though it may hurt her feelings for me to say no, my love is directed with the boundaries of truth. I know, at her age, that playing in the street is not worth the risk of death.
If we believe in love and true unity, then we must believe in truth. Any form of unity that lacks truth is counterfeit. People who miss this have no idea they have traded in the real thing for shallow sentimentalism. Doing whatever you want and forcing others to tolerate it is great for a while… until the consequences hit.
In this letter, John is firm with this woman about the false teachers that exist all around her. He is quick to remind her that others depend on her obedience to discern these false teachings. He stresses truth, obedience, and love. We must remember that true unconditional love that comes from Christ is not the same as tolerance. Tolerance means to tolerate. Not very loving, in my opinion. Real love will draw boundaries that are set upon truth.
I would rather exemplify love through Biblical boundaries than to simply tolerate someone.