2 John :4-6
In this section John reveal the importance of maintaining truth in the local church. If Scriptural truth is not upheld then error will quickly gain a foothold, and before you know it, it will be believed instead of the truth. Here the apostle contrasts truth and error, love and hate, and the church and the world.
The teaching contained in these few verses show why individual Christians and the church must continue to obey God by practicing the truth in their daily lives. We must resist every false teacher and teaching that distorts God’s word in any way.
Walking in truth
“I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father” (2 John :4).
What does “walking in truth” mean if it does not literally mean practicing it in daily life? Truth is not only something we believe, for it must include what we do as well. This is the same as “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7) and “walking in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31), and surely must be the way to “walk in the Spirit” and “not fulfil the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Therefore, to walk in the truth is to live according to God’s word and yield to the Holy Spirit. Such obedience to God’s word gave John cause for rejoicing.
Holiness is not an option, it is a command. “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15) … “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Does this not mean that those who are only “hearers” of truth and not “doers” are in fact not living according to the truth? “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). On the other hand, “whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). Notice how James links the doer “of the word” with the “doer of the work”. The truth that is in us must be manifest in our everyday life.
Not a new revelation
“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” (2 John :5).
John reminded this church that loving one another was not some newly invented teaching. Throughout Scripture we find the same thing taught. The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34-35). Along with truth this love must be constantly upheld and maintained. When a believer falls away from the Lord it is generally because he has stopped living by God’s word and loving the brethren, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). To hate other believers is to walk in spiritual darkness, “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him” (1 John 2:9-10).
Note: “That we love one another.” This statement makes little sense, and has unhealthy connotations, if the “lady” is a literal woman with several children rather than a church and its congregations.
Walking in love
“And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it” (2 John :6).
How do we begin to walk in love, that is, practice love in our daily lives? John explains that true Christian love between believers can only be possible if each one lives according to God’s word. In 1 John 5:2-3 he writes, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” To state the obvious again, it is impossible to have any unity unless it is based squarely on the word of God. Unless we love God by obedience to His commandments we will never succeed in loving others.
What are commandments? They are the obligations that God has ordained for each one of us. We cannot choose which to accept or reject. Some may not be relevant for today’s church or society, but that only proves John’s point in this letter. All of God’s commands are relevant to those who love Him. “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).