It seems that many of the believers in the church that John is addressing have stopped “walking in the truth.” That truth is the truth that Paul explains to us in Romans 7. He clearly says in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short.” No one lives up to the standards of a perfectly holy God. When we think we don’t have sin, we alienate the world and others, and we end up fighting wars and hating one another. John wants us to live in love with each other. So in 2 John 2:5, he pleads with the members of this dear church that he refers to as “dear lady.” He says, “And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.” Jesus did not come to save the righteous or the healthy. He came for sinners and the sick. If we believe we can live up to the standards of the law, we don’t need Jesus. If we think a righteous life is achievable through our own efforts, we expect others to live up to these standards and become judgemental and critical. It’s always wise to remember Isaiah’s words, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Paul repeats this in the New Testament. It’s only when we’re walking in this “truth” that we are able to love one another. We will never hold unconditional love for others if we expect them to behave in certain ways.

Now we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We know that we cannot keep the Law perfectly.  The scriptures make that clear – “there is none righteous no not one.” But you have to notice what Paul says in Romans 13:8.  He who “loves” his neighbor has fulfilled the law. Then Paul explains this. When we truly love our neighbor, we will never sin against him. There is no need for the law that says, though shalt not steal from someone, when you truly love that someone as much as you love yourself. We do not need a law telling us not to kill someone we love.  We always hold the best interest of those that we love as our highest priority. The same goes with thou shalt not commit adultery. When you love others you will not hurt them. The same goes for thou shalt not covet. You don’t desire to have what belongs to someone you love. Paul then closes his discussion concerning the law of love in Romans 13:10 and says, “love does no wrong to a neighbor, love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”  Thus we have come to refer to this as the law of love.

Is it possible to command us to love one another? It seems to me that the command to “love one another” is not a call to an emotion. It’s a call to action.  That’s what God’s love is all about.  Hollywood has deceived us into believing that love is either sheer sentimentality or else the feeling that comes over a person when an attractive member of the opposite sex comes into view. That is not what God means by love. When we speak of God’s love for mankind, we do not think of the warm feelings he has about us, but what He did for us. He sent His son to die for us.  Again, quoting Paul, God took action to take care of our sin problem by sending His son to pay the penalty of our sin for us. His love was not an emotional response, but a willful decision to act in our behalf. That’s what Agape, or biblical love is. It is to act for the good of another, regardless of the emotional state with respect to that person. No, better, it is to act for the good of another, in spite of a negative emotional state towards that person.  You see, biblically speaking, love is action on behalf of another! It is not sentiment, but action.