Having begun by reminding her of her election by God, John now refers to himself, the servant of Christ, and the love that he has for the lady and her children.  It is well for us, as the Lord’s people, to know that we are thought of with affectionate regard by Christ’s eminent ministers.  But it is also always well to keep uppermost in our minds and thoughts the eternal love of God towards our souls, without which we should remain utterly lost.  And so, John wisely begins by pointing them to their election of God, and only then does he speak of his own love for them.  He himself, in imitation of his Master, Who loved His own that were in the world unto the end, loves the elect people of God “in the truth.”

It is those three words to which we should pay particular attention.  One need not be an expert in John’s writings to be able to observe that truth was of the utmost importance to that holy apostle.  He spoke of “grace and truth” coming by Jesus Christ.  He records the Saviour as calling Himself “the Truth,” and as testifying before Pilate that “everyone who is of the truth heareth My voice.”  In the Revelation He is called “the faithful and true witness.”  Truth comes from God, and is personified in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also, truth must always be set in opposition to error.  This was a chief concern of John in his first epistle, when he would pronounce the tests of assurance.  Often would he begin with the words, “If we say…”  He taught his readers in those five chapters that a man could speak all he wanted about knowing God, being saved, and having religious experiences.  But if he was walking in darkness, neglecting to obey God’s law, living in hatred towards the children of God, then that man was a liar.  The only people who have a just claim to say that they know God and have fellowship with Him are those who live in obedience to His commandments, which to them are not grievous.

Moreover, truth must be opposed to error in the realm of doctrine.  “He that transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God” (verse 9).  One must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He is God’s anointed Messiah.  One who would become a Christian is not at liberty to believe whatever he chooses, but he must believe the testimony of God concerning His Son Jesus Christ.  He must embrace the evident truths of Scripture, for that book is inspired by God and is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  Clearly, the elect lady and her children had received the truths which John and his fellow apostles taught.  And because there was unity of mind between them on the saving doctrines of the Gospel, John could love them in the truth, in that special manner in which he could never love any lost person.