“The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth: for the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.” (II John 1:1-2)
The Evangelical church is known for its emphasis on “love”. Whatever love may mean.
Emphasizing whatever popular Humanistic and Progressive concepts about love that the Christian academics are feeding the leadership of our local churches. As they call Christians to be activists and socially-engaged Christians.
All in the name of “love.
And, while that observation may sound cynical, the reality is, there is no real way to define love.
Along with that emphasis on love is a great resistance to place any boundaries or limits on what love actually allows us to do. And not do.
Instead, love has become a kind of excuse that is used whenever there is any argument that involves truth or doctrine.
Love is used as an excuse to shut down any debate or concern over whether we are teaching and believing what the Bible actually says. Whether we are truly following the specific things Jesus actually taught us to believe.
The Binding of Truth and Love
The verse quoted above uses a phrase that I’ve read many times before. But have never really thought about carefully. It has a kind of sentimental, emotional feel to it. And so, is easy to just gloss over.
I’m speaking specifically about that phrase, “love in the truth“. What does that really mean?
Well, it’s a statement that actually binds love and truth together.
If you read the three letters that John wrote, he speaks of truth a great deal. He even seems to elevate truth above all other things. As in the following passage:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (III John 4)
Skipping Down the Love Path
But, we don’t hear much about that these days in Evangelical circles. Everything is about love.
The truth is, love does not exist in some vacuum by itself.
It is not separated from the other things of the scriptures. So that one might pursue love in some single-minded way; and thereby fulfill what the Lord wants us to be and to do.
Which is exactly what is being taught to us today. We are being told that we just need to focus on love. And, by doing so, we will fulfill all else that Jesus told us to do.
As in the oft-quoted verse about love fulfilling the “royal law” (James 2:8). What they forget is that the verse that follows is one that says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.“
This means that just focusing on love doesn’t cut it. It’s a dead end, in a sense. It’s just one more way for us to see how we fall short of fulfilling the law. Sort of like showing us that even a “short-cut” won’t work.
In other words, if someone thinks they can bypass all the stuff that Jesus said for us to do and all the doctrine He wants us to teach, they often choose to go down the love path. Choosing a kind of “alternative” Christian lifestyle. By being a nice guy and doing nice things for people instead of being some annoying, “legalistic Christian” that tries to make sure everyone is perfect on doctrine.
To Abandon Love
The church has reached a point where it is dangerously close to going over the edge into apostasy.
It is following the same path that the mainline denominations chose long ago. The names and scenery have changed; but the path is exactly the same.
The mainline denominations traded the truth of God’s word for good feelings, good works, positive teachings, and a very open, tolerant view of salvation and cultural morality. Trading truth for social activism and a Social Gospel.
All Christians should heed the “Danger” signs.
There is no true way to understand and fulfill “love” outside of the specific and comprehensive teaching of the word of God. Humanism, Progressivism, and no other “isms” can define what “love” is.
Only in the plain reading and simple understanding of God’s word, can we truly discover what love is.
To reject that plain reading and simple interpretation of the word of God, from the first words of Genesis to the last words of Revelation, is to move away from truth.
And, in so doing, abandon love.
Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay