2 John 1-3
Love Founded upon Truth
John wrote two other short letters which reference much of the same material he covers in both his first letter and his gospel. Unlike his first letter, he begins his second and third with a more traditional greeting. The “elect lady” is a symbolic way of speaking, in this case, of a local church, perhaps in Asia Minor; and, after all, the Church is referred to as the “Bride” of Christ in Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17. (I much prefer speaking of the Church as a “she” rather than an “it.”)
We note that the Apostle loves this local church “in the truth,” and not only he but all love her “who know the truth.” This teaches us that Christian love is founded upon and intimately related to truth—who is Jesus Christ himself (John 14:6). The Christian is not allowed to live his life according to his feelings or the particular way he views things. He may not adopt the kaleidoscopic and relativistic manner which a worldly man or pagan may choose. The Christian must live his life after the manner of the truth preached and lived by Jesus Christ which the apostles and prophets revealed to us in Holy Scriptures and so interpreted by the Church down through the ages. He may not pick and choose according to his liking from these sources. This is all to say that truth is not some empty term which each person gets to fill with his own desired meaning but an objective reality; hence, John calls it “the truth.”
And it is out of this truth—and only this truth—that we may rightly and truly love one another. I cannot love anyone outside of this truth described above. I will not love my wife as I should if I do not love her according to this truth, much less anyone else. Disconnected from the truth of the gospel revealed in Scripture, love is a mere fleeting thing. I do not say that pagans cannot love; I do say that their love divorced as it is from the truth found in Jesus Christ is a love far from what it could and should be, and which ultimately must be grounded in oneself as it is not grounded in the truth himself—Jesus Christ. In short, the truth of the gospel grounds my love that I may love as I should.
Verses two and three pronounce wonderful promises to believers: “The truth abides in us and will be with us forever.” The true believer abides in the truth because the truth abides in him—and ever shall. And in this truth and love are grace, mercy, and peace provided us from the Father and His Son. Isn’t it wonderful to know the Truth!