October 26, 2023
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. – 2 John 1:6 ESV
The Apostle John, the very last living apostle had been graciously given much time to ponder the very essence of the Christian faith. Without doubt, he was enraptured by the words of Christ presented within the upper room discourse (John 13-16), and in his three, very short epistles attributed to his namesake (1 John, 2 John, and 3 John), he encapsulated our faith in a dynamic between three words: ‘love’ (used 37 times), ‘truth’ (used 19 times), both of these seen in relation to God and others as a new ‘commandment’ (used 10 times). In summary, since God loves us, we ought to love both God and others. His love is the truth, and our desire to love Him and others in ways expressed throughout the context of his letters is the “walk in truth” (2 John 1:4-6) according to His commandments.
To walk otherwise, while pretending to walk according to the truth born through the love of God is to breed consequences that, according to John, have dire results when standing before the righteous Father (see how Jesus ends His high priestly prayer in John 17:25). Notice what John said about such a person: we ‘lie’ (1 John 1:6); we ‘make Him a liar’ (1 John 1:9); we ‘walk in darkness’ (1 John 2:11); we ‘practice lawlessness’ (1 John 3:4); and indeed, we are ‘children of the devil,’ (1 John 1:10)…and we are only halfway through his first epistle!
Jerry Jenkins, the co-author of the Left Behind series with Tim LaHaye, shared a personal experience of learning the lesson of an obedient walk in his first book, Lessons Learned Early. In 1968, he was in his freshman year in college, a year of tremendous political and social upheaval throughout the country. Riots had broken out in many major cities. From the rooftop of his dorm in Chicago, he heard sirens and saw fires burning. Students had been told to stay on campus, but Jerry wanted to see what was happening.
As he ran toward a store that was blazing a few blocks away, a police car pulled up beside him and the officer yelled through a down-turned window, “Don’t go down there!” Jerry waited until the car pulled away, then kept walking. The officer, having driven around the block, returned. This time he made it clearer as he repeated, “Don’t go down there,” and leveled a shotgun out the window. Jerry got the message.
The great hymn-writer Phillips Brooks once said, “Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks, and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks.” We know what a walk of love and truth look like. If not, spend some time God has graciously given to you and read the letters of John. Our real question that needs answered is: are we willing to obey the command given to walk in love and truth?
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