I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. (
2 John 4)
We call them toddlers. It is a fit description, as you watch the small child’s wobbly walk. They are learning. No baby is born with the skill to walk. It is developed, with many falls along the way, but finally it is mastered. The Bible uses the term, “walk,” to describe our spiritual journey. John mentions it three times in his little second letter. Christians have a second birth into the family of God, they grow, and learn to walk. Sometimes we fall down, but if we get up and go forward in faith we make progress.
We do not walk alone (
2 John 1-3). Our Father walks with us, and we journey in
fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. John uses the term, “elect lady and her children,” most likely figurative language
referring to the church and her members.
We enter that fellowship by receiving the truth (v.2). Jesus is the Truth Incarnate indwelling every
child of God. He causes grace, mercy,
and peace to flow into us and from us (v.3).
Our walk is in the truth (v.4). In this brief epistle, John uses the word, “truth,” four times, and an expression akin to it, “doctrine,” three times. The writer’s emphasis on truth is significant. What does it mean to walk in truth? It is to increase in the experiential knowledge of God, growing in doctrinal soundness, and submitting to the truth in obedience. God has given us His truth in Scripture as a roadmap to direct our walk. We are to maintain our course with doctrinal fidelity and apply the message in every dimension of our pilgrimage.
Maintaining our balance is vital in learning to walk. This is where love comes in (v.5-6). John calls us to a healthy balance of truth and tenderness. Without love, truth can be harsh and stern. Apart from truth, love can be mere sentimentality. Truth and love must be on each arm to aid us in Biblical balance. As we cannot abandon truth, neither can we forsake love—it is not optional, but essential to walking with God. Love is the mark of a follower of Christ. The stronger our love is, the steadier our walk will be.
We walk with God as He holds our hand, but as His child, we hold onto faith—that is again the balance of truth (v.7-11). As we journey, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing ready to devour us. They mix truth with error to deceive us. In a day when many are departing from the faith, we must hold to the old paths of sound doctrine. Walking in fellowship with God and all who love His Word means we walk away from all who forsake the message, lest they pull us down—perhaps losing reward or exposed as a counterfeit and pulled into hell! We are warned of a peril so grave as not to even let the cult member enter our home or encourage them in their evil by wishing them well!
After that sobering warning, John concludes with a note of joy (v.12-13). Truth will triumph over error. There is victory in Jesus and that is cause to rejoice. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. Although there are troubles on every side as we travel this path from earth to glory, we can walk in joy, nonetheless. Let’s go! The end of the road is heaven!