2 John 6 (HCSB)
6 And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love.
John gets right to the point of the letter: love one another. It sounds so simple, so good, so wonderful. But we should be careful not to be fooled into equating the love John means here with the “love” that our modern society defines.
First, John defines exactly what he means by love. He hinted at it in 2 John 5, when he says it was a command “we have had from the beginning”. And he spells it out in 2 John 6: it is “walking according to His commands”. This is not the love our world defines today. Walking in His commands means not endorsing and reveling in homosexuality, but instead recognizing it as sin, rebuking it, and repenting of it. But our western society certainly does not see that as love. His commands tell us to care for the widows and orphans, but our society looks different than that, as it slowly creeps towards a disregard of life. His love applies to the unborn, yet our society continues to murder with a stamp of approval from our government. What we see is that the more we stand firmly on God’s love, the more we are distanced from what the world defines as “love”.
John then addresses exactly what we know to be true: there are those that are the enemies of God, enemies of Christians, that deceive. And notice how simple things actually are: we are either with God, or against God. The world, and those that deceive, would have us believe that there are many shades, varieties, and paths to follow, but that simply is not true. Jesus is exclusive, there is no other way but through Him!
This warning from John, so needed at the early stages of the church, in order to protect it from the enemy, is equally applicable today. Nothing has changed. We still need to remain firm in God, and “remain in Christ’s teaching”. We should not fall short of that teaching (2 John 10), nor should we extend beyond it (2 John 9), nor should we entertain the words of those that would, lest we join them in their “evil works” (2 John 11).
And we must be careful: this is not a call to separate ourselves from the lost. Remember, this is a call for the church, that is the audience of John’s letter, to ensure false doctrine does not enter the church. The church should absolutely not welcome false teachers, deceivers, to spread poison doctrine. And at the same time, the church absolutely must reach out in love to the lost with the hope and love of the gospel message. The church must remain righteous in order to love people and do its part in God’s plan for redemption in the loves of His chosen.
Lord, thank You for protecting us, for sending men like John to encourage, rebuke, and teach us to remain in You. I pray for the wisdom to recognize false teaching, for the strength to oppose the enemy and stand with You. Help us to walk in righteous love, not in a watered down worldly love. Amen.