"Therefore be followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Eph. 5:1,2). Not only are we called to walk in truth, we are also called to walk in love. Are these in contradiction to one another, or are they in unison? Christ is truth while at the same time being the full expression of God's love, so if we abide in Christ, then we will also walk in truth and love in perfect harmony. Someone has said that the gospel must be proclaimed, but it first must be adorned. Truth is the same. It must be adorned with love in an earthly vessel. There is a heavenly fragrance coming forth from a person in union with Christ that is very attractive to a lover of truth. It is an aroma of life unto life. (2 Cor. 2:14-16) It is more than just believing the right thing. It only comes from knowing the right One.
Consider what John says about Christ: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:14,16,17). Is it only in Christ that the Word became flesh, or is that the calling of every disciple of Christ? "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher" (Matt. 10:25). We are bone of his bone, flesh of His flesh. "As He is, so are we in this world." The same word that dwelt in Christ must also dwell in us, until we become an expression of that word. We are in reality the Body of Christ here upon this earth. And in this high calling, we are called to express the same life that He did. The aroma that proceeds from our life will open the way for truth to a hungry soul seeking the way.
How can truth always be held in love? There is only one way, and that is to know the love of God filling our whole inner being or heart. How can this be done other than in a personal, intimate, ongoing relationship with Jesus by the Spirit? God is love, and the only way we can have that same love in our hearts is to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. We have all heard these words many times, but we dare not pass over them lightly. Knowing what we should do and doing it are two entirely different things. How then can we know this reality? Listen to John again: "This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it" (2 John 6). Listen also to Jesus: "If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love" (John 15:10). To say that we are abiding in God's love without having that love expressed in keeping His word is a contradiction. The ultimate expression of love is obedience. If we obey the Lord, we will abide in His love. If we do not, we will not abide in His love, and the expression of our life will not be an expression of truth.
When we think of obeying His "commandments," what do we mean? Some think of the "Ten Commandments," while others think of a list of basic and important doctrines. But in a living relationship with God, are the commandments a fixed set of laws or truths? That may have been true in the Old Covenant, but now we have entered into a "new and living way." The commandments now are the expressions of His will written on our hearts and minds by the Spirit. They are "in life," and they are coming to us continually. The evidence that we have submitted our lives to God and that we are abiding in His love is that we are obeying those commandments. In this way, God is leading us according to who He is, and not according to our understanding or limited judgment. Since God sees all things, He is able to lead us in truth in all matters whether we understand or not.
In the scripture quoted previously, Paul says that our responsibility as members of Christ is to speak the truth one to another in love. If we consider this command in light of our discussion, we can see this is a demanding place that can only be fulfilled in the grace of God. Love only considers God and His will. If we consider man, we will fail. If we only consider God, we will hold truth in a proper way that will minister grace to every man. If we consider man, we will be moved to act on a lower level, often taking a place of sympathy which will not help but only hinder what God wants to do in the life of another. God never sympathizes in this sense with our weakness or difficulties. He reveals Himself as our strength and lifts us up to a place of victory. God's love does not overlook weaknesses, but deals with the source of weakness to bring us to a place of strength. God's love does not hide anything, but brings everything to the light. He is light, and we are light in Him.
This union of truth and love is only possible in the life of God. It is not a special place for just a few, but the high calling of every child of God. Christ paid the way to make this possible, and we dare not neglect this great salvation through unbelief.