Ken Rudge, St. Austell, England
‘The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth’, 2 John 1.
The first thing that caught my attention was that this ‘love’ John is speaking of is ‘in truth’ rather than ‘in the truth’. His love was declared to be sincere and without hypocrisy or deceit. This love was certainly because of the truth they had all embraced but it is the purity and simplicity of his love for them that he wants them to know. It was the genuine article. We need to love like that for in our somewhat superficial and surface way of life these days love is often shallow and known to be rather hollow. If we love saints then let us do it ‘in truth’!
The next thing I was drawn to was that the word he used for love was agapo. This is always used of divine love, which is the ultimate in love, the real powerful, sacrificial kind of love that gives without account for the object of its love and has no thought of self-interest. This is the pure, uncluttered love that is so amply expounded in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and is clearly that which is the very nature of God Himself, for He is love!
I would tremble a little to use that word about my love but not the apostle John. He constantly exhorts us to this love in all of his letters. Why so when the standard required is so high and we most likely to fail to rise to it? Remember how Peter tried the lesser thing with the Lord when He asked him if he loved Him? John 21. 15-17.
John would be deeply conscious of the real thing because for three years he lived with incarnate agape love. He heard the heartbeat it has and the view that it sees with, the words that it speaks by and the lengths to which it will go to attain its goals. That was Christ, living love powerfully, day after day.
My understanding is that this love would be only producible by our new nature and the work of the Spirit of God within us. All other love is mere fleshly effort on our part. Nothing can substitute the real thing.
This love, when it pervades our living, transforms it into an undeniable testimony to God and His presence amongst us. There is nothing else that keeps us together in harmony John says but this kind of love and our united obedience to God’s word, 1 John 5. 1-3. The Cave of Adullam springs to mind. Never was there a more ugly and unattached group than that gathered to David in this cave. They were the oddballs of the area yet they came together and held together in the most difficult of times. Why? - because David himself was there and he became their reason for being there. If our blessed Lord has first love and a willing obedience to His word in our lives then nothing can break the harmony He gives us! Praise Him for such love and such an experience.
This issue of the magazine aims to touch our hearts with devotion as we are taken to Calvary by a first article for the magazine from our brother Rowan Jennings of Canada, our pockets with a searching word about Giving from the pen of Wesley Ferguson and our compassion in the Pastoral Feature about marriage breakdown. Malcolm Steer’s first article about Islam has been well received and proved very useful to many in understanding the religion. In this issue we have his second article to further clarify the issues of where Christianity differs; and there is a third to come.
Thank you all for your continued support of the magazine and our efforts to bring encouragement and challenge through its pages to you as you seek to please the Lord and live for Him.