Daily Reading and thought for December 19th. “WHOM I LOVE IN TRUTH”
Today we read those two short personal final letters by the Apostle John. In 2 John we are challenged by the fact that four times in the first 3 verses he uses the word Truth. We read, we need to “love in truth” to “know the truth” and go forward “walking in truth”.
That last phrase jumps out at us. In John’s Gospel he recorded the words of Jesus to those “who believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ ” [Ch 8.v.31-32].
Truth is not just something you know, it is something you do; it is a vital principle by which you live; above all it sets you “free”. What does that mean? Free from what? Reading the ongoing conversation we realize it means we are set free from observing the letter of the law; instead, we are challenged to embrace the spirit of the word. Now this is a reaction of the heart, not the head, and results in “love” in action.
In his letter John states his alarm that “many deceivers have gone out into the world” [v.7] these had distorted what the Apostles had taught. This led to a group “who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh”. They were converts who thought they could improve on what they had been taught by their own reasoning. After accepting the teaching that Jesus was the Son of God and had brought God’s message to human beings (1 John 5 v.20), these deceivers were saying Jesus could not really have been a human being, as he was God’s son, which means, they reasoned, he could not have been flesh and blood.
This is serious, John says that such “a one is a deceiver and the antichrist,” and comments, “Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what you have worked for” [v.8]. He then says that anyone who “does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God.” [v.9.] He describes those who taught wrongly as doing “wicked works” [v.9]. This is disconcerting; we would love to see all Christians being one, but it is impossible because of human nature. We need to have a profound sense of awe about Jesus Christ and his work before God, realizing that God will have the final say as to whether we receive his wondrous eternal blessings.
In John’s third and final letter he writes more about “walking in the truth” [v.3,4] and those like Diotrephes [v.9] who do not do so. Let us make sure we know the truth so that we can walk in it and practice it “in love.”