Wednesday, 24 June 2020
This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. 2 John -6
John just said that believers have a commandment. It is “that we love one another.” What he now says has a definite article before “love.” He says, “This is the love.” He is speaking of a specific love that has already been discussed. He then describes that love as, “that we walk according to His commandments.”
To walk signifies the course of life and the character displayed in the individual. Loving one another means that we walk according to the commandments of God in Christ. With that understood, John next explains what that means, saying, “This is the commandment.”
His words go from the plural “commandments,” to the singular “commandment.” It signifies the overarching precept. John is uniting the thought of love with the thought of obedience to the other “commandments” which are laid out by the teachings of Christ and the apostles. To love, without following the commandments given by God, is pointless. It displays the uncomfortable position of living out a social gospel where truth (meaning the truth of God) is rejected for a state of emotion. Love, without obedience, is not a truthful state of existence.
This is the same thought expressed by Jesus in His letters to the seven churches in Revelation. There He says –
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:18-20
The church at Thyatira was noted for many things, including its love. But it no longer held to the commandments of God. Instead, they allowed wickedness to enter into their congregation, and thus the truth was substituted with a lie. John was writing to ensure that this would not be the case for the “elect lady and her children” (verse 1).
John next says, “that as you have heard from the beginning.” John has been speaking in the first person – “we walk.” He now turns to the second person – “you have heard.” He is speaking of himself and the other apostles as the ones who, even from the outset, had proclaimed these things. In proclaiming them, his hearers had heard them. The word had not changed, and the exhortation did and would remain the same. With that in mind, he finishes with, “you should walk in it.”
This is speaking of “the love” of the first clause, not “the commandment” which he just referred to. Expressing “the love” is walking according to the commandments. Thus, “the commandment” is to walk in the love. The two are united. Love without obedience is a lie. And obedience without love is dead. The two joined together form a whole and complete walk which is right, moral, and in accord with the expectations of God.
Life application: If John’s words seem repetitious, they are not. What he is saying is really no different than being told that we are not to kill another person and then being told that when we are angry, we need to act on obeying the command we have been given to not kill.
John is being thorough in his thoughts, understanding that both parts are necessary to successfully fulfill the Lord’s directives. One speaks of the action and the other speaks of the duty. As Plummer says in his commentary, “Love divorced from duty is will run riot, and duty divorced from love will starve.” As you can see, we can’t direct our attention to one without the other being off target; the two must complement each other.
Love then isn’t just a soup bowl full of feeling that we toss on the table of life for consumption. Instead, it is the whole process involved in making the soup. We have to prepare, heat, ladle, etc. the love too. And then there is the cleanup. When the love doesn’t sit quite right, we need to be ready to handle the unpleasant task of taking care of the aftereffects. All of this is involved in volitional love, not just haphazard feeling.
This then is the commandment – that we should walk in it. We need it to be a part of our daily life and actions as we go from place to place and meet with the various people with whom we come into contact. In the end, this commandment is given for our blessing and so that we will more closely resemble our Creator, and His very nature is love.
Lord, you know our proclivities for not being as loving as we should be. Help us to be more like you – loving and walking in that love as a part of our very being. You are a great, wonderful, and loving God. If we can reflect You in our daily walk, then we will have succeeded at being a true testimony to Your glory. Amen.