From John’s third epistle we read,
“To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (3 John 2-4)
John seems rather joyous as he writes his letter to his “beloved Gaius,” does he not? He lets his friend know that he prays for him and that he desires that “Gaius . . . prosper in all things and be in health.” And he wants all of this to be “just as [his] soul prospers.” And so we would pray likewise for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Certainly, it is a pattern set forth for us here in our text.
But something I find most noticeable in our text is the repeated use of the word “truth.” It is used four times, stressing how important this very matter of “truth” is.
John “loved . . . Gaius” and he did so “in the truth.” Within the sphere of the truth of God’s Word John exercised his love for his brother in Christ. Often our love is misdirected and can be such that it has a faulty foundation. We stumble over ourselves often, professing “love” but it is a “love” that is more in step with how the world defines love than how God defines it. It is important we know the difference. And it is important that we, as the Scripture note, “love in the truth.”
John “rejoiced greatly” because it was testified to him that Gaius was a person of whom the truth was in. John was informed that his beloved Gaius had “the truth [of God] in [him],” and this brought John great joy. Oh, the joy that we also express when it we know that God’s truth is evident in a brother or sister in Christ!
John then noted that he rejoiced greatly because it was testified to him that not only was “the truth . . . in . . . Gaius,” but Gaius was “walking in that truth.” He was ordering his behavior, his conduct, according to the truth that was in him. He was a vessel, who from what was in his heart (the truth), was manifesting it in how he lived. Again, we also rejoice when we hear of a brother or sister who is living, or walking, out the truth.
Finally, John testified that he had “no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.” He heard that “the truth was in . . . Gaius” and that “Gaius was walking in that truth, and this gave John his “greatest joy.”
What a pattern for we who profess Christ. Jesus said that He wanted His disciples to set apart in “the truth” (John 17:17). And so, when we hear or witness the evidence of this happening in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should say, “now that gives me joy!”
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