Which has priority – love or truth? This seems to be the question of the day. Are we really supposed to decide which has priority? How does it apply to false teaching – what is the loving thing to do?
2 John 1:1-3 NASB … The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 for the sake of the truth which abides 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.
- * 2 John is being written to warn a “sister” church some distance away, referred to as an elect lady, of the missionary efforts of the secessionist false teachers (discussed in 1 John) and the dangers of welcoming them whenever they arrive. –2Jn 1:1
- Notice that this lady is “loved in truth”
- Also she is “loved by all who know the truth” (unity)
- Why? “For the sake of truth which abides”
- Walking in truth and love yields grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.
2 John 1:4-6 NASB … I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
- Walking in truth is a commandment
- Walking in love is a commandment
- Love = walking in truth according to His commandments
- Knowing and abiding in the truth(Jn 14:6;Jn 18:37;Jn 17:17) is the foundation of biblical love
- Truth and love are inseparable, therefore there is no way to prioritize them
2 John 1:7-11 NASB …For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
- Guard, watch your teaching(doctrine) so you do not lose what was accomplished(work) and receive a full reward
*This work would be “lost” if the opponents with their false teaching are received and allowed to teach unopposed. –2Jn 1:8
- Be careful who you give a greeting(unity) too(know what they believe)
*Giving a public greeting could be understood by an onlooker to suggest agreement with the (false) teaching of the opponents and is thus prohibited by John. –2Jn 1:11
Walking in truth and love requires a guarding of the teaching(doctrine) that is given the appearance of approval.
Biblical love rejoices in the truth, separates from evil and clings to good. –1Co 13:6;Ro 12:9