I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. (2 John 4 and 5)

The teaching that the Lord Jesus gave was: "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). He said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples" — not because you are fundamentalists but "if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35, italics mine). This is the commandment that we have had from the beginning. Here we have it: Walking in truth and loving one another (we are talking here about loving fellow believers). This is the balance that is needed today in the church, or else any church will become lopsided.

We can become over-sentimental in the church. There is a lot of sentimental tommyrot going on, and it is as sloppy as can be: "Oh, we love each other. We have the agape love" — and all that sort of thing. But are you walking in the truth? Are you really walking in the knowledge of the Word of God? All the apostles emphasized that we are to walk in love. My friend, this is very important in these days in which we live. It's wonderful if you are a fundamentalist, but I hope you are walking in love because you really are not a fundamentalist unless you are.

The objective polarity of the Christian faith and the Christian life is truth and love. John emphasized love in his first epistle, but he also said that that love is for the brethren, it is for believers, it is for those who are in Christ. He said, "My little children, I want you to love one another" — that is, other believers.

I do not quite understand this idea of watering down the Christian faith and saying that we are to love everybody, because I know that when you make a statement like that, you don't love everybody. It is just impossible to do that. There are too many in this world who are unlovely.

We are not worth loving, but God loves us all. The important thing is that He tells believers to take the gospel to the world. That is the way that you and I can show our concern and love. We are to take the gospel to the lost because God loves them, and then if we take it to them, a love will be begotten in our hearts for those who are actually our enemies. The important thing to see is that God is love — it is His attribute — and His love has provided a Savior for us. But truth is also very important, and you cannot put love above truth, because when you do, then you sacrifice truth.

—From Dr. J. Vernon McGee's Edited Messages on 2 John ©1994