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2 John 5-6 • The True Basis for Love

“Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.”
    —2 John 5-6 (NASB)

This is like a theological variation on the chicken-or-the-egg dilemma—which came first, obedience or love?

There is an abundance of biblical teaching on the symbiotic dependencies between love and obedience. Neither is present in the absence of the other. A soldier is completely obedient to his general, but rarely “loves” him; a disobedient child is the focus of a one-way love of the parent in spite of the behavior, but mutual love does not really exist. God repeatedly teaches that we can never fully experience or express His love unless “we walk according to His commandments”. There is no love where there is no obedience.

There are false teachers who actually and publicly state that “doctrine is divisive”, that God’s commandments must be subordinate to the cause of love. This is not God’s teaching. Every parent knows that to love their child is to guide them into all truth, and that the eventual proof of their love is experiencing their children’s consistent obedience to the truth bestowed on them.

On what is your love based?