It was common practice to include a thanks giving after the greeting of a letter that expressed the writer's pleasure in knowing of the well-being of the addressees. The Elder is "overjoyed" (NRSV) because he has found some of your children walking [or living] in the truth. This does not necessarily imply that other members of the congregation were not living in the truth. But the Elder is acquainted with or has met some who are. And to know that these people are faithful in their commitment to God brings the author joy. The Johannine com mand to love one another inculcates concern for the spiritual welfare of Christian compatriots and joy over their well-being and faithfulness.
The Elder goes on to explicate the truth by which they live in terms of the commandment to love each other (compare 1 Jn 3:23). In fact, love is to live in obedience to [God's] commands. The love spoken of here includes love for God and love for others. We show that we love God when we do what God desires, and what God desires is that we live a life of love. Love is not a feeling or emotion, but a way of life that manifests itself concretely in its concern for others in obedience to the commandments of God. Love circumscribes the whole of life and ought to permeate the actions and attitudes of the Christian person.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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