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This Is Love, That We Walk According to His Commandments

18 March • Monday of the Fifth Week in Lent


2 John 1-13

1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that 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 Father's Son, in truth and love.


4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. 5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one 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, so that you should walk in it. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching 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 or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.


12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.


13 The children of your elect sister greet you.


Meditation

 

Prayerfully meditate on 2 John: What is the most important spiritual discipline for Christians in the church?


The most important spiritual discipline is to love one another as yourself, all in the name of truth. Simultaneously, it entails a deepening grasp of the truth through the practice of love. Yet, this duality proves profoundly challenging. The underlying difficulty arises from the following scenarios: Firstly, should the church cling steadfastly to the truth, but forsake love, faith risks devolving into mere legalism. Conversely, should the church prioritise love over truth, forsaking the necessary guidance of truth, it risks becoming a mere social gathering, devoid of its testimony to the truth.


This very exercise constitutes the core focus of this epistle. Traditionally attributed to the aged Apostle John, it is addressed to the congregation in Ephesus. Remarkably, he addressed the believers as "the lady and her children." Why this address? Four reasons emerge:


Firstly, this title underscores that his profound love extends not just to the church collectively, but he also recognised the church as the "bride," aligning with the teaching that the church is the "bride of Christ." Thus, it emphasises that all believers in Jesus are welcomed into the Lord's church, becoming brothers and sisters in the Lord. Do you love Christ and your fellow believers as part of this spiritual family?


Secondly, it reinforces the idea that loving fellow church members is for those who possess the truth, as the church serves as the Lord's home for His disciples. Hence, we are encouraged to love our spiritual family, i.e. love one another. Do you foster such relationships based on truth and love within the church?


Thirdly, the apostle reminds us of Jesus Christ's command to His disciples in John 13:34-35, urging them to love one another as an expression of obedience to the truth. Are you willing to love your brothers and sisters as a fulfilment of the Lord's command?


Finally, the apostle underscores the necessity of truth within love, as it is essential for discerning those who propagate deceit and oppose Christ as the incarnate Lord. Such individuals reject the truth of Christ and His love, causing harm to the faith and life of the church. Are you equipped to identify and resist heresy?


Prayer

 

Let us remain vigilant and prayerful, both internally and externally, to safeguard the church against the perils of our times:


Firstly, we must guard against the infiltration of heresies into major media platforms, which undermine the sanctity of Scripture and Christ-centredness.


Secondly, we must resist false teachers and deceitful shepherds who falsely claim to represent Christ and God, while being morally corrupt and hypocritical. They not only harm themselves, but also lead others astray.


Lastly, we should be cautious about those who violate the principles of truth and love, as they can cause divisions, opposition, and even lead to the fragmentation of the church.


Action

 

In what capacity are you willing to care for the beloved church of the Lord today? Who among the pastoral leaders and fellow believers require your loving support? How do you equip yourself to discern heresy and bear witness to the truth?


Rev Dr Clement Chia

Principal

Singapore Bible College


(Source: Translated from Chinese Lenten Devotions 2024)

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