Walk in Love
“This is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it” (2 John 6).
- 2 John 4–6
Reformed theology has always been concerned with probing the deep truths of Scripture and articulating them in a logical, systematic manner. As a result, many great thinkers in modern history have come from the Calvinist tradition. In turn, Reformed lay people tend to be quite proud of the depth of doctrinal understanding evident in their heritage.
Though we Reformed Christians should be thankful for our tradition’s concern for understanding the deep truths of God’s Word, we must be careful as we progress in our knowledge never to forget the essentials of the faith. In today’s passage, John rejoices in his audience’s walking in the truth, and he calls them to remember the essential practice of love — the mark of every true Christian.
In verse 4, John expresses great joy that “some of your children” were walking in the truth. This is a reference to the fellowship of believers associated with the “elect lady.” His use of “some” may indicate that not all of them were walking in the truth. Most commentators believe, however, John had met with only a few of them just before writing this letter. Thus commentators suggest he was commending the walk of these individuals rather than suggesting not everyone in his audience was walking according to the truth of Christ Jesus.
Even if the “some” who walked according to the truth meant the entire congregation was faithful to God, John does not let this fact prevent him from exhorting the congregation to heed the command to love others. Even Christians who, generally speaking, are living according to the truth by following the example of Christ, need to be reminded of the basic commandment to love others.
Verse 6 tells us that to love is to walk according to “His” commandments. We love truly only when we endeavor to obey the injunctions given to us in sacred Scripture. Romans 13:8–10 tells us that all of God’s law is fulfilled in this one word: “love your neighbor as yourself.” Far from being only a sentimental feeling, true Christian love is practical, and it looks to Christ and the Spirit’s illumination of Scripture for instruction on how we may love in word and deed.
Are you walking according to the truth, not just by studying the Word but by putting it into practice through concrete deeds of love toward others? Are you treating your neighbor exactly how you would want to be treated? Think of someone, perhaps a co-worker or family member, whom you have not loved but have treated badly, maybe in response to the way you have been treated. Think of a good deed you can do for that person and then go and do it.
Passages for Further Study
- Gen. 44–45
- Prov. 17:9
- Mark 7:9–13
- Luke 10:25–37
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