As I read this passage, I find two indispensable things that must be part of a true Christian’s life: truth, and love.
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. (3)
If we are ever to know the grace, mercy, and peace that comes from God, we need to know both the truth of God, and the love of God.
Some people say they love God and others, but at the same time, they reject the very truth that the God they claim to follow teaches.
They reject the idea, for example, that Jesus was truly God. They reject that salvation only comes through Jesus and his work on the cross.
But John tells us,
Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. (9)
You simply cannot reject what Jesus taught about himself, salvation, morality, and what true life is and still say that you have God in your life.
But truth devoid of love is an empty thing as well. You can have all the right doctrines, and believe all the right things, but as Paul said, if you have not love, you are nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)
And so John urges us not just to walk in truth (4), but in love (6).
How about you? Are you walking in truth, but not love? Are you walking in love, but not truth?
Or are you, as God’s children, walking in both?