October 05 2021
Today, Tuesday October 5
The Balance of Love and Truth
2 John 1:7-11 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
I believe it is possible that the “elect lady”, in this passage of scripture that John is writing to, had written a letter to the Apostle John asking him about “Christian hospitality”. Does loving everyone mean that you just let anyone come and stay in your home. In those days they did not have a hotel on every corner in every town or village. And love and hospitality meant you might invite someone into your home to give them a place to sleep or stay for a few days.
In the first six verses of this letter John has made it clear, as we have already discussed, that you can’t have love without truth and you cannot have truth without love. In other words, there should be a balance with truth and love. Some people would want love to be all inclusive. For the sake of “love” we should accept and invite anyone and everyone into our relationships and into our church despite who they are or what they believe.
Others would emphasize the truth at the expense of love. Today we might call these people “extreme fundamentalist.” If you don’t dot every i or cross every t of doctrine or belief, the way they think you should, like they do, they should absolutely have nothing to do with you. For instance, it might be a difference or preference for what Bible they might think is the best or only translation you should read or use. Or what you might believe about the details of prophecy and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Or what kind of music should you allow in your church or home, such as “traditional” or “contemporary”. And they would sometimes conclude that if you don’t believe the way they do, you probably are not saved and they are not allowed to fellowship with you.
This is indeed sad but so true these days! But John was having to deal with this issue in the first century church too! What he is making clear is that there should be a balance between truth and love! We of course should love one another, and in Christ love everyone despite our differences! But when it comes to Christian love and hospitality these is a place and time to draw the line. And that line concerns the deity of Jesus Christ which John calls “the doctrine of Christ”.
In John’s day there we already cults, that were in the spirit of antichrist, that were invading the first century church. They were an imitation of the real! They claimed to be “Christian” and to be believe in Jesus, but denied the reality of His deity! They were teaching that Jesus was only a “spirit” not a real person. Or they were saying that Jesus was a son of God just like we all are sons of God. Or they were teaching Jesus was only human but that God came upon Him during His earthly ministry. Jesus was a good man and taught good things but they denied His atoning death and His physical resurrection.
John said, “Don’t let these people come into your homes or churches with their doctrine.” They will destroy your faith and you will lose your reward. My friend, we need to be aware of these same people and their doctrine or teachings today and avoid them.
May the Lord help us to always have the balance of “truth and love!”