Monday, 29 June 2020
…for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John -11
The words of this verse should be taken together with the previous verse to get a full understanding of the context –
“If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
With the context understood, John’s words begin with, “for he who greets him.” Here, he uses the same word for “greet” that he did in the previous verse. It means “to rejoice.” As we saw, the word “rejoice” was the customary way of formally greeting someone in the Greek culture. And so, a good paraphrase would be, “for he who extends a courteous blessing to him.” With that idea in mind, John next says that the believer who does this, “shares in his evil deeds.”
The verb translated as “shares” signifies “to have a share in,” or “to participate in.” It was used in Hebrews 2:14 when speaking of our participation in humanity –
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
One can see the intimate connection between the two things. We are humans because we have partaken of what makes us a part of humanity. Therefore, a person who greets someone who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ partakes in his evil deeds. Or, as the Greek more literally reads, “partakes in the works of him, the evil.”
As you can see, the emphasis is on the word “evil.” In greeting someone who bears such wicked doctrine, we imply that what they are doing is ok, and thus we not only share in their evil, but we bear the responsibility for the harmful effects that result from their false doctrine. The thought here is reflected in Paul’s writings in several ways, such as these two thoughts –
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15
“Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.” 1 Timothy 5:22
Though Paul’s words especially cover other issues, the general idea is the same, even if John’s words are more direct.
Life application: Suppose someone from the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any other faith or organization that denies the fundamental tenets of Christianity comes to your door. What do you do?
The previous verse gave us the answer – “Do not receive him into your house nor greet him.” Therefore, John’s words of this verse give us the reason – “For he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”
Welcoming them isn’t a light and simple matter; it is light vs. darkness and life vs. death. Ultimately, we are in a battle against the evil forces of this world. Anything which contradicts the truth of Jesus Christ is of the devil (1 John 3:8). By greeting someone who is actively promoting an anti-Christian cause, or an actual heresy of the Christian faith, we are in effect condoning his work. When we do this, we solidify the thinking that what he is doing is acceptable.
This is no different than having inter-faith prayer meetings. Christians must never hold prayer meetings with those of other faiths. By doing so we implicitly acknowledge that the person of the other faith is praying to a real god who really hears, even though this is not the case.
There is One God and He has revealed Himself in the Trinitarian model of Christianity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are to hold to this truth as the supreme test of what is and what is not acceptable within the confines of our faith. Jesus Christ is the second member of this eternal Godhead – fully God and fully Man. If agreement on this cannot be reached, the person is to be rejected as a member of the family of faith. God doesn’t condone heresy, and neither can we.
Heavenly Father, in the Bible are strong and sober reminders that we are participants in a great spiritual battle for human souls. We are reminded, again and again, that we are accountable for our actions when dealing with others who believe differently than we do concerning the core tenets of proper doctrine. Lead us as we walk through this world of sin and heresy so that we may be proper lights, shining forth the truth of Your gospel. Amen.