Categories: Bible, Daily Living, Expository Study, John, Love, New Testament, Obedience, Scriptures, Spiritual Growth

                   We have studied previously about the theme of truth in II John. Another major theme in this short letter is love. In John’s epistle to “the elect lady,” he says he loves her (v. 1), he begs her (beseeches) to “love one another” (v. 5), and then shows what love looks like in this context (v. 6). I find it interesting that love is a theme in all three epistles of John. These inspired words in his three letters remind us of some of the most basic and yet most needed things.

                   In a nation that is divided politically to the extreme, and in a time when an attitude emerges that says, “If we don’t agree on every subject, then you are my enemy,” we are overdue on being reminded about love. Love has been cast to the side in too many people’s lives. Sadly, this worldly attitude spills over into the church and infects us as well. I am reminded of the old saying that used to be preached often among the brethren. This saying, based on Scripture, said, “In matters of faith, unity, in matters of opinion, liberty, in all things, love!” It seems to me like we need to get this old saying out of the “mothballs” and start using it again!

                   When we talk about love, this is such a general word in the English language that it is hard sometimes to know what is meant. In the English language, I can love my wife, love my children, love my vehicle, love my pet, love my job, love the sunset I saw yesterday, love the supper I ate, and love the brethren, and can mean something different every time I used that word “love.” When we read the Bible, the word translated “love” actually comes from three of the six words the Greeks used for love!

                   In II John 1, 5, and 6, the word translated “love” comes from the word “agape.” In short, this word means “that which looks out for others’ best interest.” It is a truly sacrificial type of love, the love we show people regardless of whether or not they are lovable. It is a love described in Matthew 22:39, James 2:8, and other passages. It is a love that needs to be seen in the Lord’s church, as well as in our homes, in our towns, and our nation.

                   This love (agape) is connected with keeping God’s commands (II Jn. 6; I Jn. 5:3). Why might this be? Put simply, because when we love, we gladly sacrifice. In this case, when we love God, then we are obedient. We are a living sacrifice for Him (Rom. 12:1-2).

                   Examine yourself today (II Cor. 13:5). How loving are you? Do you think of yourself or others during the day? Repent if you have been displaying a worldly attitude toward others, and let’s get back to what God wants. Reject hatred and ungodly attitudes. Love the brethren (I Pet. 2:17), love the Lord (Jn. 14:15, 15:14), and be amazed at how our lives are blessed when we love as John tells us to love. 

“In matters of faith, unity, in matters of opinion, liberty, in all things, love!”

- Jarrod M. Jacobs