2 John 1-13
Wednesday, 6 October 2021
“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.” -2 John 8
The second letter of John is addressed to “the chosen lady and her children”, which may refer to an individual and her family or possibly a church. The early church made a practice of supporting traveling ministers and teachers with gifts and hospitality. Christians would house these missionaries and provide for their needs (Refer 3 John 5-8). Since false teachers also relied on this hospitality, John urged his readers to show discernment and not to support traveling teachers “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” [Study Bibles]. False teachers have been a major concern of John in his first letter also. These false teachers were visiting the churches under John’s care and were drawing people after them – they were taking advantage of the hospitality of the people.
Come back to the basic foundations of faith is the message that John is trying to convey in this letter. Further, he gives instructions on hospitality – he was warning them not to entertain everyone who claims to be a believer but to receive only those who believe and obey the basic foundations of faith. John gives a stern warning not even to associate with such people.
The key verse today, gives the warning to watch themselves, which is an admonition to even us who are living centuries after!! We live in a time when the message of the cross is being misused for personal benefits!! False teachers have multiplied. They have a form of godliness but deny its power. In today’s reading John deals with the subject of how to handle such situations. In order to identify the counterfeit, we need to know what is real! People are destroyed for lack of knowledge- Hosea 4:6.
John outlines two foundations in this letter. (1) The foundation of Christian faith (2) the foundation of Christian life and warns us that if anyone who claims to be a Christian teacher and does not follow these, he could be an agent of antichrist! Do not have any association with such people!
The foundation of Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is God who came into this world in bodily form and lived among people, died, and was resurrected for the sins of people. Apostle Paul says that is the gospel (2 Tim.2:8). John himself writes in his gospel John 1:14 – “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us …” When we see obvious conflicts in a “minister’s” life, it is worth asking the question “which Jesus is he believing in?” Jesus Christ who is the Son of God displayed certain divine traits which no other leaders could ever show (Phil.2: 6-8) and we are commanded to have that attitude. So if Christians (especially ministers) do not reflect the character of Christ such as evident in the above Scripture, needs to be questioned!
John further goes on to explain the foundations of the Christian life. They are :
Truth (vs. 4)- which is found in God and His Word. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31.32).
Love (vs. 5)- Both love towards God and one another. “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”(1 John 4:20)
Obedience (vs. 6): An obedience to God expressed in obeying His commands: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
Having our lives firmed on the above foundations is the only way to guard ourselves (watch ourselves)!
“Teach me Your way, O LORD;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.”