Allegiance to the Faith
3 John 1:5-6
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do to the brothers, and to strangers;…

In these few words the sum and substance of the Christian life are placed before us. They convey to us that he who was addressed was simply loyal to truth and loyal to duty, whilst this, the loyalty of his being, flowed forth in act from a fountain of the purest love. These, in the Christian, cannot be disjoined. The mere philosopher may present us with a state of loyalty to truth, as truth is found in the regions of science. If he descends into the bowels of the earth, and tries to read the marvellous structure of men's temporal habitation, he is supposed to be loyal to fact or to truth as he finds it. Or, if his business lies on the surface of the world, and he questions the trees of the forests, the flowers of the field, or the grass of the earth, he ever holds his intellect in allegiance, and utters the thing as it is. Or, if rising from the earth, and traversing the starry firmament, he tries to measure, and weigh, and count the number of the stars, he stands the minister of truth, the interpreter of the works and ways of the Omnipotent Creator. All this, so far as it is an attitude of human reason, is right and well. But all this, however effective in giving strength and enlargement to man's intellect, does not achieve the full loyalty to truth commended in the sacred writings. The truth therein revealed contains the knowledge of Jesus, the Saviour of the world. It displays to the human understanding the only pathway leading out of sin into piety, out of misery into happiness, out of death into life. But whilst, with childlike simplicity, the message of the Divine love is to be received into the understanding, with the same simplicity the law of the Divine love is to be received into the heart. The conscience of the genuine Christian is to be ruled by the commandments of Jesus. Our Lord is King in Zion. Alone He legislates, and alone demands the indefeasible allegiance of the conscience of man. It is not pretended that men do not know in any thing right from wrong till they have opened the Bible. Men in all ages, in all lands, have gone into the market of the world attempting to maintain a standard of truth. To this lawgiver, legislating for the conscience and the heart, the disciple of Jesus becomes immediately and uninterruptedly liege. Loyalty to Him who spake as never man spake arises out of confidence in Him who died as never man died. Fidelity to Jesus as our rightful Lord is essentially interwoven with fidelity to Jesus as the Lord our righteousness. And this was the state of Gaius: a Christian doing whatever he did to the brethren, and to strangers, in the faith that so God had taught him, and under the conviction of his conscience that so his Lord had commanded. But this is not all; there is another element still, the ever-living, ever-moving impulse that urges onward the whole. It is love — the end of the commandment — out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Over and above the marvellous signature of the kindness and love of God our Saviour written in the blood of the Cross, the Spirit of love proceeding from the Father and the Son comes to enkindle this Divine flame in every follower of Jesus. In every Christian He is the Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. No religion found among men, and invented by men, ever pretends to the indwelling of this infinite agent — the moral renovator, of the soul. His presence in man is the presence of holy love. In this we behold the living power that moves the heart of the kingdom of God; the life that reanimates every soul loyal to the Messiah, and binds for ever, beneath the perfect bond, the subjects of the eternal King. Such, then, are the three essential elements which form the Christian life and the Christian character the spirit of allegiance to whatever the Word of God reveals; the spirit of allegiance to whatever the Word of God commands; and lastly, the spirit of love animating and urging onward the whole. What Divine simplicity.

(J. Paterson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

WEB: Beloved, you do a faithful work in whatever you accomplish for those who are brothers and strangers.

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