Reading through the Bible together
It is encouraging and even exciting to reconnect with those who were once strangers to the love and grace of Jesus and, since meeting Him, have remained faithful. This is even more meaningful and – at the same time – humbling, if we have been in some way instrumental in encouraging such an awakening. John, the beloved of Jesus, expresses his joy as he finds such individuals still faithful and in relationships with God.
The Apostle emphasizes God’s command, “…that we love one another” (v. 5 NIV). He then defines love as walking “in obedience to His commands … and His command is that we walk in love” (v.6 NIV). In this double emphasis, John leaves no doubt that God wants us to genuinely love each other. He continues to give very direct counsel about not keeping company with those who do not follow the teaching of Christ, to the extent of not even welcoming them into our home.
This may appear extreme at first glance. Do we not have a duty to take the message of salvation to all? Should we not be hospitable to all? John is warning against the danger of intentional fellowship with those who wish to unsettle our faith, belief, and relationship with Jesus. These days this is an alarming trend, even in the household of faith.
As John continues this short letter to an unnamed congregation, referred to as “a lady chosen by God” (v. 1 NIV), he closes with greetings from another “sister,” also unnamed, whose “children … send their greetings.” But he chooses to leave much unwritten, hoping for the opportunity to “visit you and talk with you face-to-face, so that our joy may be complete” (v. 12 NIV).
As we continue in our daily activities today, filled with texts, tweets, blogs, and emails, let us strive to keep our conversations and communications Christ-motivated, and so keep our joy complete.
Peter Landless, Director, GC Department of Health Ministries