Growing in Christ
"He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45
John shows Jesus as Savior and Lord in His cosmic perspective and significance.
Practical and Pastoral Observations on the Letter of 2 John (please read each chapter slowly and meditatively before reading observations below):
Introduction: John's final years, before his imprisonment on Patmos, were likely spent in Ephesus where he wrote this letter to Christians throughout the region in about 90AD. In this brief letter John expresses joy in the progress in truth and love by the small church being addressed but cautions of the dangers of losing ground by false teachers.
In every age there is a doctrine or philosophy opposed to the Gospel to which we need to respond, as John did, clearly and strongly. There is no substitute for Jesus (I John 5:11-12).
John was both "the apostle of love" ('love' appears 35 times) and the 'son of thunder' (Mark 3:17) in this way reflecting Christ who was both 'full of truth and of grace' (John 1:14).
Denying the Incarnation: John is concerned about traveling teachers, pretending to be Christian, yet denying that Jesus has come in the flesh (v.7). [Docetists claimed Jesus was merely a spirit mimicking a body; a doctrine which would make Jesus' death for us in vain.] False teachers should not be encouraged (v.10-11).
Truth matters: John refers repeatedly to the truth (Jesus came in the flesh) because truth is not a matter of armchair discussion but life and death (v.9). This understanding of truth needs to be recovered in our day which wrongly values every person's subjective convictions, though contradictory, as equally true believing this will enable us to 'get along'. Contrary to this view it must be asserted that to disagree does not involve disrespect of the other, rather that respectful dialogue between those who disagree is a means of surfacing truth.
Truth is love: Truth matters also for the sake of love. Christian love (v.5) is rooted in the truth that God first loved us personally in the incarnation. Denying Christ's incarnation means that agape love is an idea but not incarnate in the world.
Truth lives in us: He who is the truth lives in us (v.2); this wonderful truth is right doctrine but more: the very presence of God with us forever. The incarnation of Jesus cannot be removed from the core of the Gospel. Its denial in John's day was reasserted in 20th century German liberalism and continues in secular and new age doctrine today. John's battle in the 1st century is no less vital today.
Personal Application: I will help those who deny the incarnation understand that this denial excises their own salvation. I will defend to all whose hearts are open that truth is a matter of life and death, is personal in the sense that God is personal, that truth can be expressed propositionally and is not to be dismissed with a 'whatever'.
My Prayer: Father, give me grace and wisdom to defend the truth of incarnation to those who deny your coming at the risk of their salvation.