"I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it." (2 John 4-6)It is interesting to note that John speaks to the "lady," not the elders, not the pastor, and not the leaders, rather he speaks directly to the church in general. The church was not seen as an extension of the pastor (because they did not have pastors as we have them today) nor was it ruled and controlled from above, requiring John to address the top before he could address those beneath them. The church was the church and John addressed its members directly.
What delighted John was that, in his travels, he found some from the church who were living the life they professed. The were walking in truth; not living one way in church and another in the world, but living a consistent life where every life should find them. The Christian life is more than just worshiping good, listening to the preacher good, and looking good to others at church, it is about a changed life; a life that has come into conformity to the image and nature of Christ; a life that has come into conformance with truth and the one who is the truth. All sin and debauchery is of a lie for it lies against the one who created us and how we were created to live. When we live godly lives we are living "naturally," living as we were created to live. When we sin, we are living "unnaturally," living against our God-given nature that was created in holiness and meant for righteousness. To live according to the truth is to live life fully and in abundance.
The consistent message of John, in all his letters, is that we should love one another. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. When we love one another, we are reflecting the nature and character of God for "God is love." (1 John 4:8) However, love is more than a feeling; it is more than affection and a disposition towards wishing others good. Love requires actions and deeds. Solomon said, "Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed." (Proverbs 27:5) If love is not shown in deeds and actions then it is of little value to the one we claim to love. So how do we walk in love towards one another? Obedience! Obedience to God's commandments. When we conform our lives to the commandments of God, when we allow His word to dictate our actions rather than our own will and desire, then not only will we be expressing love for God but we will also be expressing the love towards other people. When we keep the commandments we love God and love other people.
The benefit of the commandments is that they teach us practical ways to love one another: don't lie, be slow to anger, and forgive one another, just for a few examples. The commandments are not arbitrary standards for obtaining to an arbitrary sense of righteousness, they express the actions that communicate love for God and love for one another. God commands these things of us, not to try us or to test our resolve, but to show us how we ought to live and love one another. To obey the commandments is to walk in love and to walk in love is to obey the commandments. The next time you read of God's commandments, think of them in terms of acts of love and you might gain a different perspective on God and what He commands.