Sunday, 5 July 2020
For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. 3 John -3
John has just stated the words, “as your soul prospers.” How did he know this? He now explains it with the words of verse 3. He begins with, “For I rejoiced greatly.” Here, like in 2 John 1:4, he uses the word lian. It signifies “exceedingly” by taking a thought and elevating it to a higher level. John is truly overjoyed, as he next says, “when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you.”
The translation is lacking the force of John’s words. Both “came” and “testified” are present participles. It rightly says, “of the brethren coming and testifying of the truth in you.” The visits were ongoing, and the testimony was continuously faithful. Whenever someone went to visit Gaius, and that was not infrequently (as the verbs indicate), they always came back with a good word about him.
It is a positive mark upon Gaius which John is literally elated to share with him, and thus it explains his rejoicing exceedingly. He was abundantly delighted that his beloved Gaius was holding fast to the truth, and that it resided in him. With this understood, John next says, “just as you walk in the truth.”
In this statement, the “you” is emphatic – “just as YOU in truth are walking.” John has certainly said this to show the contrast between Gaius and those who fail to walk in truth. As will be seen, he is setting a border between the walk of Gaius and that of Diotrephes who will be seen in verse 9. Also, the translation of these words is sloppy. John first says, “testified of the truth,” but then he says, “just as you walk in truth.” There is no article before the second use of “truth.”
Thus, John is saying that the truth of the gospel resides in Gaius and, that because of this, he walks in a general state of truth in all he does. The truth of the gospel actively residing in a person dictates the nature of the person’s walk.
Life application: In this, John’s third epistle, he speaks of walking in the truth. He has done this in both of his other epistles as well. In his first letter, he did so in 1 John 1:6. In his second letter, he did so in 2 John 1:4 –
“I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.”
The idea has progressively moved up towards the beginning of each letter – verse 6, then 4, then 3. It is as if the Bible is saying that the truth is of such paramount importance that it needs to be highlighted at the earliest possible moment as time unfolds.
Maybe it is telling us that as time passes people will need to be more on guard than ever as to what is and what isn’t truthful. Based on the tense of the statement, John hadn’t merely heard about Gaius’ walk on this one occasion, but repeatedly. Gaius, therefore, was a person who continuously demonstrated the Christian life in all he did.
For a moment, let us pretend that we are going to be mentioned to the Apostle John. What type of report about us will he receive as he ministers to his own church in Ephesus? Will the traveling brethren come and testify of the truth in us? Or have we been swayed away from the purity of the gospel that we first received?
Will they find that our walk is in truth, or will they find fault in how we walk and conduct our Christian lives? Will the vote be unanimous, or will the more mature believers be able to discern faults in our doctrine? Will they find good in some areas, but fault in others?
These questions and their answers about us are important because Jesus knows even better than these traveling visitors and their reports. What Christ Jesus sees He files away for the time when we will stand before Him at the judgment seat. Each of us is to be evaluated in order that we will receive rewards or suffer loss. May we be found with the truth in us, and may we be found always walking in truth!
Jesus, we know that we are ultimately accountable to You. We know that You embody truth and that we are to emulate You in this. Therefore, reveal to us the surety of our doctrine, correct our deficiencies, and guide us into all truth so that we may be pleasing and acceptable vessels, prepared for Your glorious use now and for all of the ages to come. Amen.