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. 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 1:5-6 NIV
The dear lady John writes to here is a local church body he knows and loves. He writes not to teach her something new but to remind them of an old truth. A truth that he later expresses will help them to discern antichrists, those who preach false gospels. This truth is first expressed in Leviticus 19:18 and identified by Jesus in Matthew 22:39 as one of the greatest commands. The command to love one another.
At first glance, John’s words here seem circular. Love is walking in obedience to God’s commands. And his command is that we walk in love. There can be no question that we are called to live a life of love. To love those around us, especially our brothers and sisters in the Lord. But how do we do that?
How to Walk in Love
The last six commands in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:12-17) deal with how we relate to each other. And there are many other instructions throughout the Scriptures concerning interpersonal relationships. These instructions tell us what love for each other looks like. And it seems that is what John is telling us here. Love involves walking in obedience to the instruction we are given in the Scripture. Not in a legalistic fashion, but out of a desire to demonstrate love for God and those around me.
As fellow believers, let’s walk together in love, following the instructions given us in God’s word. Doctrine is important. But nothing is as important for us as walking together in love. That is God’s greatest command for us. To love him with all we are. And to love each other as we do ourselves. Nothing else is as important as that.