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2 John 1:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 The older man to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever. 3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
TRUTH: THE BEST FOUNDATION FOR ANY RELATIONSHIP 1 John 2:1–3
The dominate term in the first three verses of 2 John is truth. The truth is apparently the gospel truth about Jesus Christ (1 John 3:23–24). The beauty of John’s letter is that he does not simply hang the truth in mid-air as an object to gaze upon, but he describes three actions that we should take in regard to the truth.
Love in the Truth
John writes, whom I love in the truth, referring to the chosen lady and her children. Some say that truth is used as an adverb, meaning “truly love.” That could well be true. John cites Jesus making similar statement about being sanctified in the truth (John 17:17).
There are several related meanings that this phrase offers. It means that the love for the “chosen lady and her children” is in the context of the shared gospel of Christ, which creates a bond of mutual care, interaction, affection, and protection—all of which are acts of love. Christians share common bonds of appreciation and mutual affection in Christ in the truth.
A second insight and healthy practice is viewing truth and love as having an inseparable relationship. The apostle Paul reminds us that we “must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to [our] neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Eph. 4:25). Deception is not consistent with love. He also cautions us to use the truth “in love” (Eph. 4:15). The truth can become a weapon if not used for the right reasons. Even the truth of the gospel can be abused if not expressed in love.
Learn the Truth
John indicates that it is not only he who loves those to whom he is writing, but also all who know the truth. Know is in the Greek perfect tense and has the effect of “to learn to know.” Gathering truth into our lives is not like taking a spelling test by rote memory or by simply remembering that two plus two always equals four. Truth that is foundational is also comprehensive, meaning it takes time and experience to grasp and internalize it. It has many implications for our lives and many applications in our lives. We really never stop getting to know and understand the truth.
Live the Truth
This is what gives credibility to our Christianity. It is the heart of integrity for Christians: this truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever.
As was mentioned earlier, it is one thing to comprehend the truth; it is something else to live like we really embrace and believe in that truth. This is why John keeps attaching behavior to belief (1 John 3:23–24).
“The Gap” theory focuses on the gap that exists between what we say we believe and how we believe, which becomes either confirmation or contradiction of our stated beliefs. John is passionate about Christians closing the gap. First John 2:4 launches the attack on the gap. It continues in 1 John 2:9 and builds to a crescendo in 1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” This, John writes, is what allows us a clear conscience and gives integrity to our witness. God reveals himself in Jesus through truth and love (John 1:14, 17), leading believers into truth and love. It is as Christians grow in truth and love that they go on to experience the fullness of God’s blessing.
Verse 3, which begins Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father contains several terms that are more reminiscent of Paul than John (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2). John rarely mentions grace, and this is the only time he refers to mercy; however, John does occasionally write about the theme of peace (John 14:27; 16:33).
Our lives are living letters “read” by others. They speak volumes as people watch and listen. The content needs to reflect what we claim to believe as Christians. Too often the gap between our profession of faith and our practice of the faith is huge—so wide that our witness for Christ has little credibility. Second Corinthians 3:3 says, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.…”
Barclay notes that when the apostles Paul, Peter, or Jude refer to some combination of grace, mercy, and peace, they are doing so in the form of a hope or a prayer. John, however, states that these three blessings will be with us. He is confident that God bestows these great gifts upon us—that they are truly gifts from God, not things we can earn. However, they can only be with us in truth and love.
There is power in Christian truth and in Christian love. It is the love demonstrated by Jesus Christ, the Father’s son. Christ’s love endures; it always seeks the highest good of the one being loved. It is a dedicated, disciplined, and determined love. It is the love to which we aspire.
By David A. Case and David W. Holdren
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 David A. Case and David W. Holdren, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude: A Commentary for Bible Students (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2006), 334–336.