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2 John 1-13



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:


Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.


It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.

(verses 1-4)

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Truth. Take a look through these four short verses and mentally underline each time the word is used. Count them. Five times. Clearly, this concept is at the forefront of John’s mind as he writes this very short letter.


The letter is addressed to “the chosen lady and her children.” We don’t know anything more. Scholars tell us John could be addressing a Christian woman somewhere in the province of Asia. Or, he could be speaking metaphorically, writing to a local church. We simply don’t know which.


But, regardless, truth is clearly on his mind. It seems that one of the pressing issues of the day was a proliferation of false teaching and false teachers. “Many deceivers … have gone out into the world,” John says (verse 7). He urges the lady and her children to be on guard, watching that they not fall into the trap of welcoming such teaching into their midst in anyway.


In his concern for truth, John puts his finger on the key issue at the time: these deceivers “do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (verse 7). This error – which we saw in 1 John, also – was part of the emerging Gnostic heresy. It denied that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, seeing him as spirit only. John is intent on upholding “truth” in face of error, so that people do not get disconnected from the saving reality of Jesus Christ himself. To think rightly about who Jesus is and what he has done is hugely important for life and godliness. Indeed, if our understanding about Jesus is wrong-headed and skewed, we can end up missing out on salvation entirely.


So, Jesus is central. Which then, of course, brings us to the bigger picture of “truth.” It is Jesus himself who is so often in view when John highlights this word in his Gospel. “The Word became flesh,” he tells us, “… and we have seen his glory … full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus, in his very being, manifests truth. But not only so – he actually is truth itself. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” he says (John 14:6), in that compelling statement that highlights his exclusive uniqueness.


Later, at his trial, Jesus says, “… 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.” To which Pilate, cynically, replies, “What is truth?”, as if to brush aside Jesus’ claims. John clearly reports it with an eye to the irony, since Pilate, without knowing it, is staring Truth right in the face.


So, as John writes to the lady and her children, speaking about “truth,” I can’t imagine he only has in mind how we think. When he speaks of “the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever”(verse 2), he’s not simply referring to right thinking. No. He’s got Jesus in mind, the very One who “will be with us in truth and love” (verse 3).


So, as we hang on to truth, combatting false teaching and heresy, engaging our minds accurately, strengthening our understanding, wonderfully we find we are hanging on to our Lord himself. He is Truth. He lives in us and will be with us forever. We know him. In him, we love one another. In him, we walk.


“I am … the Truth,” he says. Yes.

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Lord Jesus, I honour you as Truth. Strengthen my mind with understanding. Guard my thinking against error. And in and around it all, embrace me in knowledge of yourself. I choose to listen to you, to love through you, to walk in you. Amen.

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Reflect:

What does it mean to apply Truth to your mind? To your behaviour? To your relationships? To your moment-by-moment experience? Choose one area and step further into Truth today.

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Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

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