What Does Faith-Transformed Life Look Like?
2 John 1:1-6
The purposes for writing John’s first letter were to evaluate one’s faith and to battle false teachings. To do this, John taught clearly the foundational truth of the person of Christ as opposed to false doctrines. Moreover, John explained what true love is. Having said that, this time, in his 2nd letter, he gives us a clear picture of what faith-transformed life is really like.
1. Immersed in God’s truth.
“1 The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—2 because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” 2 John 1:1-3.
Two school of thought regarding the identity of the woman and her children:
· She was the personification of the church and her children were members. Female personages are indeed common in the Bible, like, for instance, “the daughters of Zion” generally refers to the Jewish people; the Bride is a reference to all believers of Christ.
· A real person whom John personally wrote this letter. He knew her and her children personally. John mentioned that she was so immersed in the truth that she even opened her house to missionaries proclaiming the gospel in her area and we know that from verse 10.
Now, whether it’s a metaphor for the church and its members or was an actual woman with children, it doesn’t change the fact that John was writing to all those whom God had chosen to be part of His family –the true believers of Christ. They have “the truth, which lives in them and will be with them forever.”
· The truth is with them and perpetually stays with them. They were immersed in God’s truth, the first sign of faith-transformed life.
“17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:17-18.
· We are to immerse ourselves in God’s truth so that we will grow in knowledge.
· This is the cognitive truth– God’s Holy Word. It’s deeply nestled in our mind that we give reasons using biblical principles and precepts.
2. Walking in God’s unfailing love.
“3 Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3.
· Those whom God had chosen will have His love.
· God’s love for His people is hesed in Hebrew, meaning unfailing love. It is found 250 times in the Old Testament and it is the central character of God. It is given to God’s covenant people.
· It is also closely related to His kindness, compassion, faithfulness, grace, mercy and justice.
· God personally chooses to give His hesed to a person to lead him or her to repentance and eventually into the Lord’s salvation.
An example of this is in Exodus 34:6-7, “6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”
· Hesed is not just an emotion, but a continuing work of God in a person’s life.
· Those whom God had chosen, will forever walk in His hesed.
· They will forever have God’s love, kindness, compassion, grace, mercy, forgiveness and eventually justice.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1: 13-14.
3. Relying on God’s instructions.
“4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.” 2 John 1:4-6.
· Those whom God had chosen, who walks in His hesed, His unfailing love, they will rely on God’s instructions.
· Developed the habit of obeying God’s instructions is our responsibility, along with the help of the Holy Spirit.
· Jesus summarized the whole law this way, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40.
· God’s law is moral and spiritual which provides guidance for a very distinct way of life.
· The first 4 are expressions of love for God and the next 6 were meant to demonstrate our love for one another. (Compare this with 2 John 1:5-6)
· God’s commandments were to be observed perpetually by His chosen people.