Hello again, and welcome to March! How is it possible?! We’ve now completed two in-depth studies of two small books in Scripture (Jude and Philemon), and today, we launch into the third small book together: 3 John. I hope that these past two months have truly whet your appetite for Bible study, so let’s not wait any longer.
The tiny, little book of 3 John boasts a whopping total of 15 verses. You blink, and you miss it! But, don’t miss this one. It’s packed full of timely truth and valuable principles to apply to our lives today, and I can hardly wait to spend the next several weeks unpacking all of it with you.
The beloved disciple, John, is the author of this small book, along with 1 and 2 John, the Gospel of John, and the book of Revelation. John was Jesus’s closest friend and disciple, and this fact always makes me lean in to his words. His first-hand, eyewitness testimony to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus provides an incredibly unique perspective. It’s like this…you could read details and facts about my husband’s life and then share that information with someone else, but if I talked about him, it would be so much different. I know him so well, better than anyone else, and my knowledge and insight into who he is would allow anyone to really understand him and know him. That’s how it is with John and Jesus. They were best friends.
It’s not surprising to me, then, that one of the key words in the book of 3 John is “truth.” Jesus said that He was “The Truth,” and I can only conclude that “truth” was toward the top of John’s priority list when communicating with others in his writing. While the main theme of the book of 3 John is Christian hospitality (which we’ll address in a few weeks), there’s this emphasis on truth, and specifically, “walking in the truth,” which is where I want us to land today.
John wrote this letter to his friend and brother in the faith, Gaius, who was noted by John for his “faithfulness to the truth” (verse 3) and for “walking in the truth.” (verse 4) In other words, Gaius’s character and conduct were increasingly conforming to Christian truth. He was becoming more like Jesus in thought, word, and deed.
I find this mention of upstanding character to be so refreshing and equally convicting. We hear so often the phrase, “Jesus meets you where you are.” While packed full of good intention, that phrase is only about 50% of the truth. Yes, Jesus meets us where we are, AND He loves us too much to leave us there.
SANCTIFICATION: to make holy; set apart as sacred; consecrate; to purify or free from sin
If our goal or aim is not to become more like Jesus, then our priorities are off. Lots of small steps in the same direction for a long time is what it looks like to “walk in the truth.” This idea of our sanctification is of such importance to the heart of God, that He reveals His will for us IS our sanctification.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3a
As I ponder this high calling to walk in the truth and to be conformed in conduct and character to truth, it ushers in much conviction. Am I faithful to the truth? Do I walk in the truth? Am I choosing to conform to truth as opposed to the ways of this world? Gaius was commended for his worthy walk. His life in every way was marked by truth. Is mine? Is yours?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2