Tuesday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

2 John 4-6

Love Fulfills the Commandment

There’s a reason John is called the “Beloved Disciple”—love is what he most likes to talk about—whether the gospel or his letters, and yes, even the Book of Revelation, are saturated with this greatest of all Christian virtues.  Our Lord said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).  This was the old commandment which received new light in the life and ministry of Jesus (1 John 2:7-8).  In John’s letters, he speaks primarily of love of the brethren because believers share a bond in Christ Jesus that they do not share with unbelievers.  A believer’s best friends and soulmates should be fellow-believers—people who can encourage them in their walk with Christ.

And so the Apostle reminds those of this church (“dear lady”) that we must love one another.  Perhaps this church was struggling with some inward strife, showing us that even churches during the New Testament era suffered from this sin.  The causes of such strife are as limitless as the passions of our sinful natures.  Granted, there are certainly matters against which to stand, such as heresy and unrepentant sin in various members.  But most matters of division in churches are due to pride.  And it is to our shame that the world often sees this (Romans 2:24).

John then switches to the plural: “And this is love: that we walk according to his commandments.”  But then he returns to the singular, “This is the commandment….”  All of the commandments (plural) are summed up in love of God and neighbor (singular) as we saw above.  Moreover, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). 

As we saw yesterday, love must be based upon the truth of the gospel; and, when it is, there is no greater love in the world.  And when love is true, it keeps our Lord’s commandment(s) to love God and the brethren (and neighbor).  We worship a true God who truly loves us; we are expected to return love just as true by truly loving the brethren, killing the sins which so easily beset us, and living a life for Him in holiness and godliness.  Anything less is fake—and there are many fakes.  Love with kindness, forgiveness, humility, sympathy, and affection (Philippians 2:1-11).  And what a blessing it is when brothers dwell in unity (Psalm 133:1).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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