Truth; May 9, 2020

2 John 1:1-2 The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth–and not I only, but also all who know the truth–because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever

John’s 2nd and 3rd letters are so short that we tend not to pay them much attention, but they are surprisingly deep. To be honest, this section was not underlined in my Bible, in either language. However, it is really speaking to me now. To Japanese, who rarely say, “I love you” in any context, this is a rather shocking way to start a letter, because it renders it as, “whom I truly love.” However, John immediately goes on to make it a little less personal, including “all who know the truth” among those who love this lady. He then personifies that truth and says it “lives in us and will be with us forever.” That raises the question of just what this “truth” is, because it is obviously not simply the general category of “facts.” John isn’t specific in this letter, but verse nine gives us a strong hint: “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:9) In other words, the truth in question is the truth about God revealed in Jesus Christ. It’s very sad to say that many people, and even churches, seem to have abandoned this truth, clinging instead to teaching that “tickles their ears” and makes their flesh feel good. (2 Timothy 4:3) Since Paul wrote about it, it’s obviously not a new problem! Jesus had a very famous interaction with Pilate about this truth. “’You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’ ‘What is truth?’ Pilate asked.” (John 18:37-38) When Jesus said that, we had better pay attention!

As I share frequently, I was raised by a father who held absolute honesty as one of the core pillars of his life, but this is both broader and deeper than that. It is true that I am sitting in front of a computer typing, but that fact isn’t going to make a major difference in my life. It is also true that God loved me so much that Jesus came to earth to bear the penalty for my sin on the cross and rise to demonstrate His victory over death, and that fact makes every difference in the world in my life, and in the life of everyone who will accept it. It is always a joy to to meet people who know the truth as I do, and even more of a joy to introduce people to the truth and have them accept it. As Jesus said, all who are on the side of truth listen to Him. This is very much a matter of world view. A materialist is focused on physical facts, but that is a very shallow existence indeed. I have learned from personal experience that God’s truth can completely supersede such facts in ways that we consider miraculous. It is an objective fact that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, (Romans 3:23) but it is magnificent truth that in Christ, God provided the way to salvation by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) I am not to ignore facts, but I am to proclaim God’s truth to all who will receive it.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the privilege of sharing Your truth. I pray that Your Spirit would speak through me, using my words to implant Your truth in people’s minds and hearts and setting them free indeed, (John 8:32) for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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