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Monday, July 4, 2011

Commentary on book of second John


    LOVE and TRUTH are two of the most important words in the Bible, yet few seem to understand them.  (I use "few" in the sense of Matthew 7:14). Love has melted into such a generic, ecumenical definition that it carries very little significance, even in a holy marriage ceremony.  Likewise, Truth has become so frivolous, that most are confused to even try to define it.

    The Second Epistle of John speaks much about "Truth and Love."  2John is probably the most laconic book in the Bible; by "laconic," I mean the shortest, most precise, to the point book in the Bible. It contains only 298 words (245 in the Greek Text). 2John was written to emphasize the inter-relationship of Truth and Love.

            John is often called the "Apostle of Love" because he wrote more about "love" (per se) than the rest of the apostles. (Paul actually wrote more, but he also wrote three times as many epistles). However, John also wrote more about "Truth, Commandments, and Obedience" than any other apostle, but I've never heard him called the "Apostle of Truth" or the "Apostle of Obedience!"

            In the first four verses, John refers to a specific body of doctrine called "Truth" five times! John is concerned that people: Know, Walk-in, and Enjoy the fellowship of Truth.  If one refuses to believe what this apostles writes about the Truth, then to be consistent, one must also refuse to believe what this same apostle writes about Love.

            Since we must "walk in Truth," then "Truth" does exist. Since it does exist, it must originate from somewhere!  While science is constantly discovering Truth, science is not creating Truth, it only discovers Truth that already exists. 

            However, science cannot discover religious truth – religious truth comes only by revelation from God. One cannot discover the plan of salvation from a test-tube. John clearly declares that obedience to the Truth is expressly anchored to God's love (verses 5 & 6a), and it's important to notice that Love is a commandment!  We have the mis-conception that we cannot control love in our life. Why do we think that? Because that is what we WANT to think. When one says they cannot control who or what they love, what they really mean is that they can't control their emotions or passions. However, the love that God commands CAN BE controlled, because it is not an emotion. Love is a command to be obeyed – Love is a work to be undertaken – Love is an action to be performed – and it all begins in the heart, because that is where all of our actions originate (Proverbs 23:7a). Our emotions, passions and feelings toward those who do us harm may not be the best, yet Jesus commands that we love them; i.e., that we do no ill-will in return, and that we continue to be kind to them, pray for them, and even do good unto them! (Matthew 5:44).

            Verse 6 presents a dilemma in our "novel" society.  We interpret things such as obedience, duty, and commands as being negative, while at the same time, interpreting "love" as being positive. But the inspired apostle insists that Love and Obedience are inseparably "glued" together. In fact, love for God cannot be found in disobedience.

            Someone says, "Sure it can Toby; I know that I don't obey God, but I still love Him!"  Well, I'm not talking about how YOU think of God – I'm talking about HOW GOD thinks of you. When one says, "I love God," but continues to disobey Him, what he means is that his "emotions and feelings" toward God are friendly. People can deny it all they want, still, the truth is, there's no greater way to express contempt or a lack of love for God than refusing to obey Him – at least this is what God says, and He ought to know.

            In verses 7 & 8, John warns about people who will try to deceive us.  Now let's reason this out: If truth is relevant, i.e., if Truth is what ever you want it to be, then how in the world is it possible to be *deceived* concerning it?! Paul issues this same warning (Colossians 2:8). 

            The cry from many pulpits today is "Just be sincere! Attend the church that suits you the best! It doesn't matter what you believe!"  But wait! John says it does matter!  There IS a difference, and the difference is between Truth and Error – and only the Truth will set you free!

            It matters not that many teachers may wear fancy clothes, or that they be well versed and articulate --- it matters not that they may have a huge mega-church following made up of the socially elite --- if they go beyond the teaching of Christ they are NOT of God (period).

    Do you think that after watching His only begotten Son bleed and die on the Cross, that God is going to *compromise* His Word just to please a man-made religious conference or synod? He would not compromise at the pleading of His own Son in the Garden (Matthew 26:39)!

            It's very tempting at times to think of a sincerely religious person as a "saved Christian" in spite of all the false doctrine he either knowingly or unknowingly supports – but the Holy Spirit warns us that we better not give into that temptation.

            Truth and Love are inseparably welded together. We either accept and do both, or we do neither.

                                                                                                                                    Toby Miller

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