Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2 John 5-6

V5-6 – 5And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.

John moves from his encouraging greeting to the important reason for his writing. It is a reminder of the command of God, to love one another; and it’s a reminder of the second test, or evidence, of true Christianity that John noted in his first letter (1 John). This passage describes the moral test, a love for God’s commands and a walking in accordance with Scripture.

One Commentator says, “John is speaking to an issue that is a standing issue for Christians today. There are so many people who believe that Christianity doesn’t entail a call to obedient discipleship. They believe that Christianity is about freedom, freedom to do whatever you want. We’re no longer under the law. We’re no longer under obligation. We’re under grace, and rules can have nothing to do with us in the Christian life. And John so helpfully in this passage relates for us love and law in the Christian life. In fact, John calls us here to obey the commandment of love. And that phrase is not a contradiction.” Love is a command. It’s not a feeling, but an action, not an emotion, but an attitude. The commentator goes on, “Christian love is unselfish service of our Christian brothers and sisters undertaken by deliberate choice. Love is deliberately seeking the best interest of our fellow Christians and personally ministering to them out of a gospel care and concern, even at our own cost, for the sake of Christ. John is calling us; no, Jesus is calling us to a costly service of one another, a real and tangible love and care and concern for one another.”

This command to love is not new. Moses commanded love, and Jesus commanded love. “If you love Me, you will obey what I command… If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching” (John 14:15,24). In v6, John explains what love is – to obey God. And then to obey God is to love one another. It’s kind of strange, isn’t it? Love is the law; the law is love. We were set free from the law in order to love. And to love is nothing more than to obey the law. But it’s the motive that changes. Prior to freedom in Christ, we were under the law, baring its burdens; now, free in Christ, we are free to obey the law out of love for it, since it no longer condemns. Do you see how this reflects the moral test? Are we walking in accordance with God’s word? If you’re walking in love, then you are walking in accordance with God’s word. And if you are walking in accordance with God’s word, then you are walking in love. People always try and separate those things, but they belong together.

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