Summary: All who claim loyalty to Jesus must be committed to truth & love. We are to follow the truth and act with love toward one another. Love though is not to overshadow or overcome truth.
TRUTH IN LOVE
Second John is a brief epistle which could have been written on a single sheet of papyrus of standard size [5x9]. The preservation of this brief letter is no doubt a tribute to its spirituality and inspiration.
In this short letter John mentions truth several times. Truth and love are frequently mentioned in our society, but too seldom practiced. All who claim loyalty to Jesus must be committed to truth and love. We are to follow the truth and act with love toward one another.
Love though is not to overshadow or overcome truth. Truth comes first, them love. This sounds harsh, but if we allow the truth to be compromised in the church, then we lose our foundation (CIT). John here uses this primacy of truth as he warns against false teachers that some well-intended Christians were entertaining. John even warns us not to let into our house those who deny that Jesus Christ is God come in human flesh John tells us not to even let those who deny that is God come in human flesh into our house.
Let's follow John as he first commends the chosen lady in verses 1--4, commands her in verses 4--6, then cautions her in verses 7--11, and, lastly, comforts her in verses 12 & 13.
I. COMMENDATIONS, 1--4a.
The letter begins in typical fashion by identifying the writer and recipient. Quickly in verse 1 the Elder reveals the two principal themes; truth and love. "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,"
The writer of this letter is so well know that he doesn't need to give his personal name. So John simply refers to himself as "the elder" because in addition to being the last surviving apostle, at the time he wrote this letter, he was most likely close to one hundred years old. [Elder also is a designation for pastor but most likely John was not one of the pastors of this church or lady.] That's the great thing about ministry. Peyton Manning at thirty-seven-years-old (March 24, 1976) is considered an old man in the NFL. But in the things of God, a man that age is just beginning. Because our lives become richer and deeper the longer we walk with the Lord, there is no disqualification for age. [Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 1635.]
John did not specifically name "the chosen lady" yet the text reads naturally if a church were addressed (personified). He seems personify this Christian church as "the chosen lady" and by calling its members by refering to them as "her children." [The personification of nations and cities as female personages is common in the Bible ( "the daughter of Zion"), and the Christian church is often referred to as "the bride of Christ" (Eph. 5:22-33; 2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7).] [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983, S. 905.]
The opening stresses that "truth" and "love" are the two major concerns of the letter. John uses a word for love [agap¨¢¨] that was rarely used Greek. It contains such thoughts as caring for other people, showing loyalty to them, and seeking their good in contrast with the common Greek words for mutual attraction and affection. John loved them in truth with the voluntary self-sacrificing love of God who is Himself love. It is this personal bond of love that keeps churches together especially during a truth crisis.
Truth [al¨¥theia] occurs five times in the first four verses. It is a deliberate emphasis as they were facing a truth crisis. He wanted them to know the truth about Jesus and live according to it (John 8:32).
Verse 2 states that the reason for their mutual love is because of the truth they hold in common. "for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:"
The truth is described in two ways: it lives [abides-men¨] in us and it will be with us forever. Not only does Jesus who is truth lives within us but we are to live in His truth which is His Word (Jn. 15:4-7). God's truth is something which comes to abide in and direct authentic believers. This truth does not only live in us and direct us here, but it will do so throughout all eternally.
Verse 3 is the assurance that God's blessings of grace, mercy and peace will be upon those who live in truth and love. "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."