2006-09-20 - 2 John ~ Truth
2 John 4, "I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father."
I am taking a one week break from the Excuses devotionals I have been doing, to look at part of 2 John and the issue of truth. I fear 2 John is one of those toss-away books in the Bible because it is so small, and we figure it is not worth the reading. But it is God's Word, and there are no toss-away parts of it. This is more of a summary of what truth (the Gospel) is rather than an explication of what walking in the truth is, but I thought it might be helpful to some of you who are seeking to share the gospel with those at work, school, or even just in life in general. You might even wish to read 2 John, before or after reading this.
What is Truth? This is the famous statement of Pilate in John 18:38. John here, in this short book of 2 John, speaks of walking in truth (vs.4), and describes love as walking according to His (Jesus) commandments (vs. 6). So what is this truth that John is talking about? There are probably two answers: one is the foundational truth of the Gospel, and the second is the applied truth of living (walking) in the light of the Gospel.
The Gospel is really where walking in truth starts. We can't walk in the truth, until we have established what the Gospel of salvation is. Jesus tells us in John 10:10, "I came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly." In Luke 19:10, we read, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and save that which is lost." In Matthew 20:28, we are told, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
In these verses, Christ offers new life, and claims the ability to save. Save from what? The answer is that Christ saves from sin - past, present and future. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4), and also tells us that God is a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11). One day, we will give an account to God for our sins. As Romans 14:12 tells us, "So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Anyone who is honest knows that they have sinned, and the prospect of giving an account of those sins to a holy God is less than encouraging. However, this is where Christ enters the picture as a savior. As noted above, it is the very reason He came to Earth. "The Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the World," (1 John 4:14). While this threat of standing before God and giving an account is hanging over our heads, Christ comes into the picture as our substitute, and has already paid the penalty for all those who come to Him in faith. "But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8).
The issue here in this passage is that John is glad that some in the church are walking in truth, but we can't understand what this means, until we understand what this truth is. They had to have, at some point, turned to God in repentance for their sin and grasped hold of Jesus Christ by faith for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 20:21). While John does not say this here, we can't understand the passage until we understand what this truth they are walking in is. It is foundational to all of 2 John. They could not have been walking in the truth, if they had not received the forgiveness of sins offered in Christ by faith.
This is a step which, to a large extent John assumes, but let us never assume that we or anyone else can be walking in truth outside of understanding what that truth is, namely the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved, (Romans 10:9). That, Pilate, in answer to your question in John 18:38, is truth!
Soli Deo Gloria,