A Short Study of 2nd John 1:3-4
“Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.i I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.”
(2nd John 1:3-4)
To hear some who claim to be Christian speak of matters of truth and love, one would think these things are mutually exclusive. Should true Christians walk in truth or in love? The fact is that in the Bible and in the experience of salvation truth and love are not enemies. It is not an “either-or” situation. In salvation by God’s grace we cannot have truth without love or love without truth. One thing that proves this is the very foundation and heart of salvation. How can a holy and just God love and save sinners like us? God hates all workers of iniquity, and He must punish sin with death if He is to deal honestly and righteously with Himself and with us. So how can God love His elect, save and forgive them without being dishonest with and dishonouring Himself? He must be both a just God and a Saviour. His love for His people must be perfectly consistent with holiness, truth, and justice. When it comes to dealing with sinners, “we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things” (Romans 2:2). The answer to this dilemma lies in God’s power and grace in sending His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to do the work of a Surety in substituting Himself in the place of His people, having their sins imputed to Him, and dying for them under the just wrath of God in His death on the cross. His death resulted in righteousness that was imputed to all of God’s elect. In saving them from sin, God therefore deals with them in love, but it is a love that is perfectly consistent with His truth and justice. This shows us that if we as true believers are going to honour our Saviour and Lord, we must deal with our brethren and our unbelieving neighbours in love AND in truth. If God in love could not save us at the expense of truth, then we cannot sacrifice truth in the name of love in order to gain the favour and applause of men. Any love without truth as it is revealed in the Gospel is empty, vain, and self-serving. It is a deception. “He that believeth not shall be damned” may not sound like love to an unbeliever, but it is the greatest expression of love for him. It is meant to point him to the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of his soul. Telling him otherwise promotes the damnation of his soul. We as Christians, therefore, must walk in love AND in truth.