In the Scriptures, we see an undeniable connection between love and truth, while in the world, truth (right doctrine) is often dismissed as irrelevant. The Epistles of second and third John illustrate the interdependent relationship that love has with truth.
2 John 1:1-3. The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,
for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:
Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Why did John and all the other Christians love the chosen lady and her children? Because “of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.” Truth is the ground of reciprocal love in Christians. John stresses this fact by his four references to the truth in these three opening verses. We love each other, not because we are temperamentally compatible or because we are naturally drawn to one another, but because of the truth which we share.
3 John 1:1-6. The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth.
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth…they have testified to your love before the church.
Truth and love must have an inseparable connection. Our love must be in truth, right doctrine. Truth is the foundation and thrust of love. Love is the aim of truth.
1 Timothy 1:3-5. As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,
nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Peter 1:22. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
Obedience to the truth purifies the soul FOR a sincere love of the brethren. Our love for others is not determined by the opinions of others or prevailing attitude of our times. Godly love is not indiscriminate; rather, it is based upon the instruction provided in
2 John 1:6-11. 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.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;
for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
Truth should make our love discerning. There can be nothing inconsistent with the command to love one another and the clear instruction to refuse fellowship with false teachers, who are deceivers and antichrists. Our love for others is not to undermine our loyalty to truth. On the other hand, we must never champion the truth in a harsh or bitter spirit. Those who are “walking in the truth” are exhorted to “love one another.” So, the Christian fellowship should be marked equally by love and truth, and we are to avoid extremism which pursues either at the expense of the other. Our love grows soft if it is not strengthened by truth, and our truth hard if it is not softened by love. Scripture commands us both to love each other in the truth and to hold the truth in love.
Contemporary movements towards church unity and growth must never compromise the very truth alone on which true love and unity depend. We do not change our doctrine for the sake of love; rather, we guard our doctrine to maintain true love. What is commonly accepted in the world as loving is not to become our standard for love. We cannot accept cohabitation, transgender, homosexuality, and so on because we will gain worldly acceptance or more members to our church. God’s ever-loving arms are wide open to everyone, and so must ours be. All are welcome in our fellowship, regardless of their current lifestyle, if they are interested in learning about our loving God and Lord. However, you are not welcome if your intention is to proselytize others to your way of life. Godly love must be discerning with God’s direction so that we do not forfeit
Indeed, the Scriptures set forth an irrefutable connection between love and truth, although many in the world dismiss truth as irrelevant. The lyrics from the old Beatle’s song “all you need is love, love is all you need” is the mantra for many, which is admirable. However, without the standard of the truth put forth in the Scriptures, our best intentions to love often fall short and can end up quite unloving. Love and truth are the pathway to true love.