2 John

1 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,

There is insufficient information to determine who the chosen lady was. Perhaps it was John’s wife? Perhaps it was someone in the church in Jerusalem? I don’t know.

The apostle John refers to himself as the elder. This leads me to think that she was someone in the church where he was an elder.

Her children could either refer to the physical children or her spiritual children (i.e. those she led to the Lord and mentored), most likely the latter.

Jesus said that He is the Truth (Jn 14:6). Those who know the truth are those who know Jesus. This knowledge of Jesus is the knowledge referred to in Jn 17:3 where Jesus says that eternal life is to know the Father and Jesus. It is knowledge of God that results in our transformation into His likeness.

Such knowledge sets us free from sin (Jn 8:32).

As a result, our love for others becomes a sincere love. Such a love results in behavior and thought and action that stems from a desire for the other person to benefit from us rather than a selfish desire to benefit from the other person.

All who know the truth will love in truth. That is, all who have eternal life will have a sincere love for the brethren.

2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:

John is writing for the sake of the truth. That is, he writes so that the chosen lady and her children will continue to become more and more like Jesus.

John acknowledges that the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:7, Jn 15:26, Jn 16:13, 1 Jn 5:6)) abides in those who have eternal life and will be with us forever.

3 Grace, mercy {and} peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

John takes care to identify God as Father, and Jesus Christ as the Son of the Father.

Grace – help from God (to become like Him in character) is so important that John takes the time to wish it upon his readers.

Peace with God enables is just as important. Lack of such peace implies that God is at war with us and we cannot accomplish anything useful under such conditions.

God’s mercy is required to allow us to continue on even though we sin. Without God’s mercy, every sin will be judged very exactingly by God and we will spend all our time recovering from judgment instead of making progress in ministry.

A true experience of God’s love involves experiencing His grace, mercy and truth.

4 I was very glad to find {some} of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment {to do} from the Father.

John knew the importance of walking in truth. However, he saw that most people were not walking in truth but in lies. Therefore, whenever he saw someone who was walking in truth it brought great joy to him. He was even more joyful if the person was someone who was mentored by someone who was mentored by him.

To walk in truth means to first acknowledge, and then practice, what the Holy Spirit teaches you; not what man teaches you, but what the Holy Spirit teaches you.

One aspect of walking in the truth is that when the Holy Spirit convicts you of sin, instead of justifying yourself, you acknowledge the sin, and then you repent of it, and then you work on overcoming it.

Another aspect of walking in the truth is that when the Holy Spirit shows you something in Scripture you believe it even if everyone around you does not desire to believe it.

To walk in truth you have to love the truth more than anything else. You have to be willing to stand alone. You have to be willing to be persecuted and ostracized.

5 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.

From the very beginning, God asked us to love one another. That is the result of walking in the truth.

6 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.

Loving others is the outcome of doing what God asks us to do.

If our religious beliefs cause us to despise sinners then we have misunderstood what God has asked us to do.

If our religious beliefs cause us to persecute those who are different, or believe differently, from us then we have misunderstood what God has asked us to do.

If we love only those who love us then we have misunderstood what God has asked us to do too.

So one may ask, "Is it really possible for me to love others the way God expects me to?"

The answer is, "Didn’t Jesus do that while He was on the earth as a man? If He did it, why can’t we – we, who have the same access to the Holy Spirit as He did – do it too?"

To which some people may respond, "Oh, Jesus was God. He was able to love so perfectly because of His special powers. He was not just fully man, but fully God, and therefore He was able to love. We can’t do that because we were not exactly like Him while He was on earth."

Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t support such a position.

Jesus, in keeping God’s commandments, in their entirety and at all times, demonstrated what it means to love as God loves. And He did this as a man, without any powers beyond what is available to any person who is born again. This is what Paul calls the mystery of godliness: how could a mere man live such a perfect life? It is this truth – that such a life is possible for a man, with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit – that spurs the children of God to purify themselves and press on to perfection and become like Him.

It is this truth that Satan tries to suppress through his agents (the antichrists) all over the world.

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ {as} coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

The truth of the gospel is very precious and very powerful. Just as splitting or fusing atoms release tremendous amounts of energy, the gospel is the power of God to save us from the most terrible thing in the universe – sin (Rom 1:16).

For this reason, Satan is going to do his best to stop this power from being unleashed. He does this by send out people to deceive us about the truth of the gospel. He has not sent out just a few, but many such deceivers. They are called the antichrists because they tell us the opposite of the truth about Christ.

The truth that the church must uphold is mentioned in 1 Tm 3:15-16.

1 Tm 3:15-16 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

I’ve elaborated on its meaning elsewhere, but simply speaking it, along with other Scripture, says that Jesus, who was initially 100% God, emptied Himself of that which made Him divine, and became 100% man, and while on earth as man, He lived a perfect life, not sinning even once. His resurrection was proof that He didn’t sin even once because if he had sinned then God would not have raised Him from the dead.

This doctrine of Jesus coming in the flesh (i.e. being a descendant of David) and not sinning is the gospel (i.e. being raised from the dead) is the gospel that Paul mentions in Rom 1:1-4 and 2 Tm 2:7-8. See my study on the book of Romans for a fuller explanation of these passages.

Rom 1:1-4 1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord,

2 Tm 2:7-8 7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,

Many people today teach that Jesus overcame sin by using powers that He had but we don’t have, and that Jesus, while on earth, was 100% and 100% man. That is nonsense, and a contradiction, and since contradictions don’t exist, whether they know it or not, what they are really saying is that Jesus didn’t exist.

It is a contradiction because Jesus was tempted, in the same manner that we are (Heb 4:15) whereas God cannot be tempted (Jas 1:13). The nature of God and man is different and no being can be 100% God and 100% man at the same time.

A fuller treatment of the nature of Christ is beyond the scope of this study and so I shall not elaborate further.

This gospel was described by Paul in 2 Cor 4 as "the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" and "the glory of God in the face of Christ". Paul says that this gospel is veiled to those who are perishing. This gospel says that God is so pure that even when He became man He still did not sin. That is the great thing about God. John tries to express the same thing in the first chapter of his gospel by saying that "the Word became flesh (Jn 1:14)" and "light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (Jn 1:5)".

8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.

John sees what the deceivers are doing and he warns those who are born again to watch ourselves that we will not believe their lies about the nature of Christ.

The reason why this is so important is that if Christ was not just like us in all things then He could not be a valid payment for our sin, and hence we cannot be saved (Heb 2:17). Since are not 100% God and 100% man, He also could not be 100% God while on earth but had to empty Himself of that which was divine (Php 2:5-7).

9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

Only those who believe that Jesus became man, just like us, and didn’t sin even once, are truly born again.

10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into {your} house, and do not give him a greeting;

11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

This is so serious that if someone claims to be of Christ and comes to you teaching a contrary teaching you should not receive him or talk to him because if you do then you take part in his teaching.

12 Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to {do so} with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.

John had many things to write but this one was by far the most important and so he focused just on this one thing in this letter. So we really need to pay attention to it.

13 The children of your chosen sister greet you.

There is insufficient information regarding who the chosen sister is. John ends with this abrupt greeting.

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