2 John -8

Friday, 26 June 2020

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John -8

There is a dispute in a few words of this verse. Some manuscripts, instead of saying, “we do not lose,” say, “you do not lose.” Some also say, “you may receive,” instead of saying, “we may receive.” There is even a dispute concerning, “we worked,” as opposed to, “you worked.” The change in pronouns is dismissed by many scholars, but the outcome of what is said shows that we should not be quick to just ignore the changes. Some possibilities –

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.
Look to yourselves, that you do not lose those things we worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.
Look to yourselves, that you do not lose those things you worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.

In the end, it is hard to be dogmatic, but the thought must also fit with John’s logic elsewhere. He has, quite clearly, revealed the doctrine of eternal salvation. As this is so, and as John will, in the next verse, speak of abiding in Christ (meaning being saved), it cannot be that John would be speaking of a loss of salvation.

This is actually the first command given in the letter. It is therefore preeminent on the mind of John.  He says it in the present tense, imperative voice. So, when he says, “Look to yourselves,” he is stressing that his addressees are to be continually watchful. This command pertains to all the addressees (both the “lady” and her children), and therefore it pertains to all the recipients as well. This means everyone who reads the Bible in which it is included.

After imploring each reader to look to his own actions, he says, “that we do not lose those things we worked for.” One must ask, “Does a person ‘work’ for salvation?” The answer is found throughout the New Testament – from John 3:16, to Ephesians 2:8, 9, and elsewhere – and the answer is, “No.” Salvation is a gift, it is not of works. Rather, it is an offer of grace, and it is received by faith alone. Understanding this, John next says, “but that we may receive a full reward.”

A full reward implies salvation has not been lost, but rather the full rewards that would otherwise be due can be lost. The term “lose” is written to the believer in the immediate context of the statement and it means to “destroy.” To the unbeliever, it means their ultimate fate. To the believer, it means the destruction of rewards when standing before Christ for judgment –

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-15

“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-11

If the final verb is inclusive of John (those things WE worked for), then he is speaking of himself and the other apostles who worked for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, the changing of the pronouns must be carefully considered. Ultimately, this verse cannot be used to justify the faulty doctrine which says one can lose his salvation. Rather, it supports eternal salvation, but a loss of rewards – just as Paul so clearly presented.

Life application: The words here are similar to the warning that was given by Jesus to the apostles in Mark 13:9 –

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.” Mark 13:9

The apostles worked diligently to bring us this wonderful message of salvation. Starting with the Jews, that same message spread to the Gentiles, and it has continued to spread among them for two thousand years. In this, and in our other efforts for the church of God in Christ, we can even have rewards. Let us not lose such things but persevere in the power of our Lord!

Lord Jesus, we know that many have gone before us, giving up everything in order to bring Your word to us. Give us the wisdom to walk in Your truth, persevere in faithfulness, and to pass on to others the same message, without addition or manipulation. May the stream of full rewards for faithfulness to You be continued on until Your coming! Amen.





















2 John -7

Thursday, 25 June 2020

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John -7

John now says, “For.” There is debate if he is speaking in this verse about what he has previously said and then making this a statement based on that, or if he is speaking about what he will say next. What seems more likely, is that he is referring to what he says afterward in verse 1:8. This is particularly so because in verse 1:9, he continues with the thought of deception and not abiding in proper doctrine. Looking at it from that perspective, John says, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world.”

The word translated as “deceivers” signifies one who attempts to get others to go off course. It comes from the word planáō, which signifies “to wander.” It is the root of “planet,” because the planets appear to wander in the sky rather than stay fixed like the stars do. The word was used in Matthew 27:63 and 2 Corinthians 6:8. John will use the word twice in this verse, and it will not be seen again in Scripture.

What John means by saying that they have “gone out into the world” is that they go wherever they can, and at any time, to proclaim their deceitful message. It is these deceivers “who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” The Greek reads, “those not confessing Jesus Christ coming in the flesh.” Vincent’s Word Studies explains the significance –

“The article with the participle describes the character of this class of deceivers, and does not merely assert a definite fact concerning them.”

The words here are in accord with his words of 1 John –

“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22, 23

“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:2, 3

To fully understand what is conveyed there, refer to the commentary on those verses. But the main significance of what John is relaying speaks of the incarnation – that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man. To deny this is the mark of such a deceiver. With that established, John then says, “This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” The translation is poor. There are definite articles before both words – “This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

In other words, the deceiver is identified directly with his master. Just as those who believe in Christ are identified as being “in Christ,” these people are in the Antichrist. Those who have the Son also have the Father. Those who have the Antichrist have the devil. There are no other options but these two. The devil wants to keep his own, and so he sends out those who will do his bidding to keep others from ever coming to the truth of Christ.

Life application: The problem that needed to be addressed concerns “many” deceivers going out into the world. Imagine this! Within the lifetime of the apostle who had physically resided with, eaten with, and touched and heard the Word of God – Jesus – people were denying the very truth of the message he and the other apostles heralded. O man, o man… if people were already doing this then, how much more in the 2000 years since then.

False teachers fill our churches, our TVs, and our minds with deceit – for personal gain; it is always for personal gain. Some deceive for money, some for worldly power, and some for spiritual power, but the attack at its core comes down to personal gain. John, again, as he has done in his gospel and in 1 John, focuses specifically on anyone who denies that Jesus Christ has come “in the flesh.” In other words, the incarnation; God uniting with man. It is the continued focus of his writings, and it is the pivotal point on which all heresy revolves.

The claim is that He is either God, but not Man, or He is Man, but not God. Fanciful inventions of the mind all try to diminish the Person and work of Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are perfect examples of this, as are the Mormons. They proclaim a false Jesus, and thus they are the antichrist.

We must remember that if the incarnation isn’t true, then there is absolutely no foundation on which the ethics of Christianity can be proclaimed – exactly what a deceiver is ultimately after – casting off the authority of God.

O God, You are God and we are Your creatures. May we never attempt to diminish the work of Christ and thereby cast off Your rule and authority. Instead, may we proudly and boldly confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and that it is to Him that our obedience is due. Hallelujah to the King of Glory!! Amen.
















2 John -6

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. 2 John -6

John just said that believers have a commandment. It is “that we love one another.” What he now says has a definite article before “love.” He says, “This is the love.” He is speaking of a specific love that has already been discussed. He then describes that love as, “that we walk according to His commandments.”

To walk signifies the course of life and the character displayed in the individual. Loving one another means that we walk according to the commandments of God in Christ. With that understood, John next explains what that means, saying, “This is the commandment.”

His words go from the plural “commandments,” to the singular “commandment.” It signifies the overarching precept. John is uniting the thought of love with the thought of obedience to the other “commandments” which are laid out by the teachings of Christ and the apostles. To love, without following the commandments given by God, is pointless. It displays the uncomfortable position of living out a social gospel where truth (meaning the truth of God) is rejected for a state of emotion. Love, without obedience, is not a truthful state of existence.

This is the same thought expressed by Jesus in His letters to the seven churches in Revelation. There He says –

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” Revelation 2:18-20

The church at Thyatira was noted for many things, including its love. But it no longer held to the commandments of God. Instead, they allowed wickedness to enter into their congregation, and thus the truth was substituted with a lie. John was writing to ensure that this would not be the case for the “elect lady and her children” (verse 1).

John next says, “that as you have heard from the beginning.” John has been speaking in the first person – “we walk.” He now turns to the second person – “you have heard.” He is speaking of himself and the other apostles as the ones who, even from the outset, had proclaimed these things. In proclaiming them, his hearers had heard them. The word had not changed, and the exhortation did and would remain the same. With that in mind, he finishes with, “you should walk in it.”

This is speaking of “the love” of the first clause, not “the commandment” which he just referred to. Expressing “the love” is walking according to the commandments. Thus, “the commandment” is to walk in the love. The two are united. Love without obedience is a lie. And obedience without love is dead. The two joined together form a whole and complete walk which is right, moral, and in accord with the expectations of God.

Life application: If John’s words seem repetitious, they are not. What he is saying is really no different than being told that we are not to kill another person and then being told that when we are angry, we need to act on obeying the command we have been given to not kill.

John is being thorough in his thoughts, understanding that both parts are necessary to successfully fulfill the Lord’s directives. One speaks of the action and the other speaks of the duty. As Plummer says in his commentary, “Love divorced from duty is will run riot, and duty divorced from love will starve.” As you can see, we can’t direct our attention to one without the other being off target; the two must complement each other.

Love then isn’t just a soup bowl full of feeling that we toss on the table of life for consumption. Instead, it is the whole process involved in making the soup. We have to prepare, heat, ladle, etc. the love too. And then there is the cleanup. When the love doesn’t sit quite right, we need to be ready to handle the unpleasant task of taking care of the aftereffects. All of this is involved in volitional love, not just haphazard feeling.

This then is the commandment – that we should walk in it. We need it to be a part of our daily life and actions as we go from place to place and meet with the various people with whom we come into contact. In the end, this commandment is given for our blessing and so that we will more closely resemble our Creator, and His very nature is love.

Lord, you know our proclivities for not being as loving as we should be. Help us to be more like you – loving and walking in that love as a part of our very being. You are a great, wonderful, and loving God. If we can reflect You in our daily walk, then we will have succeeded at being a true testimony to Your glory. Amen.









2 John -5

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 2 John -5

John just spoke of walking in the truth just “as we received commandment from the Father.” He now uses that thought, expanding on it in this verse. He begins with, “And now I plead with you, lady.” “And now” indicates that John is beginning the substance of his letter and its stated reason. When he says, “I plead with you,” he uses a term which indicates a personal rather than a general request; and as a request it is formal, but not as a command or directive. After this, he will next insert a somewhat parenthetical statement.

His address is a highly unusual one to write to a church. Therefore, it is probably either to an individual woman named Kyria, or John is using the word “kyria” (which means “lady”) as a means of protecting the church from persecution. The Greek reads, “And now I implore you, Kyria.”

Either way, he now moves to the main section of the epistle, saying, “not as though I wrote a new commandment to you.” John’s intent is to stir up what has been said in the past as a reminder. His words concern what has already been said, and it is hoped that in the repetition, there will be a sinking in of what is most essential – the preeminent commandment. With that thought put forth, he continues with, “but that which we have had from the beginning.” In other words, from the first moment of our faith we received it and understood it. His words of 1 John 2 come back to mind –

“Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.” 1 John 2:7

John is certainly referring to this first epistle. The number of parallels between the two letters shows that he clearly had the contents of that letter on his mind. In just thirteen verses, there are at least eight such parallels. John is being consistent in order to ensure his reader is grounded in what he believes is most necessary. Peter did the same thing in his letters –

“For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you.” 2 Peter 1:12, 13

With this seen, John finishes this verse with, “that we love one another.” Again, there is a close parallel to the words of 1 John 3 –

“For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” 1 John 3:11

Though this refers to his first epistle, it was first taken from his gospel, where he noted the words of Jesus –

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35

If the main verse is reordered, putting the parenthetical thought at the end, we can understand what is directly stated. “And now I plead with you, lady, that we love one another. It’s not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we’ve had from the beginning.”

John is repeating that word from the Lord, again, to ensure it would continue to be remembered by those who do believe, and then to be passed on to those who will believe. As this is the substance of John’s first petition to his addressee, and as we are implicitly included in the letter because it is now found in the Bible, we should pay heed to the words in our own lives.

Life application: John will explain what he means by loving one another in the verses ahead. It is not a gushy “must love everyone that I meet” type of love. In fact, the opposite is the case as we will see.

John holds love within the Christian context in the highest place, but where anti-Christians are concerned, he takes a totally different view. This is completely in line with Jesus’ own teachings. People tend to quickly skim over Jesus’ words of judgment and cling to His words of love. It is inappropriate for us to tell others about the love of Christ without warning of the judgment to come. We need to have a careful balance in our Christian lives – loving as instructed and judging when necessary.

To love at the expense of judgment reduces the gospel to a meaningless social context, and to judge at the expense of love reduces our religion to legalistic finger-pointing and hypocritical demonstrations of superiority. Let us have balance, just as our Lord has.

Lord Jesus, may what we present to others about You never fail to show the entire scope of what You expect. Where love is present, there is also judgment. May we never shy away from a proper presentation of Your gospel message. Amen.









2 John -4

Monday, 22 June 2020

I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 2 John -4

John just conferred a blessing upon his recipient saying, “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you … in truth and love.” He now brings in a happy note concerning both truth and love, even though love is not directly stated in this verse. He begins with, “I rejoiced greatly.”

He uses the word lian, which signifies “exceedingly” by taking a thought and elevating it to a higher level. John was truly overjoyed, as he next says, “that I have found some of your children walking in truth.” The Greek word translated as “of your children” is obscure. It more literally says, “out of your children.” Thus, it is inferred that a portion of the whole, or “some,” is implied.

This doesn’t mean that some are not, but it could simply be that John observed a part of the body, and they were all walking in the truth. If the portion reflects the whole, then the whole is a well-grounded body. In other words, if a group from a church were to visit another church, and that group was very grounded in proper doctrine, it could be assumed that all the rest were likewise grounded. This would certainly be a cause for rejoicing greatly.

It is important to note that the state of any other children is not noted. Thus, either an inference concerning the whole is implied, or John was being courteous to only speak of those who were actually walking in the truth. Either way, it is a note of encouragement, focusing on the positive.

From there, he finishes with, “as we received commandment from the Father.” The Father is considered the Source of all such things. For example, Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:31). This type of sentiment is repeated by Jesus elsewhere. The Father is considered the Source, whereas Jesus is the instrument through which the Father works. Therefore, a commandment from Jesus originally stems from the will of the Father.

The believers John is referring to were walking in the truth. But, as noted above, they were also walking in love (which John spoke of in the previous verse). That will be seen in verse 5.

Life application: If you read the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, John follows a similar pattern to these letters because he first introduces a word of encouragement and commendation. This is a good way of setting the tone in any letter and makes saying any negative thoughts easier. It also allows those negatives aspects to be received more favorably. A note of encouragement should be repeated at the end of a letter as well if at all possible.

In his opening words, “I rejoice that,” his tone is acknowledging to his addressee that she has been a part of what brought her children to this state. The tense of what he is saying is that they were not only found in a good light, but that they are continuing on in that same walk.

In the final part of the verse where John says, “as we received commandment from the Father,” it is not speaking of a specific commandment, but rather it embodies the entire teaching of Scripture which was available at the time along with any oral directives from the apostles.

Today, when we see someone who is faithfully following the Lord and is setting an example for those around him to act in the same manner, we should take the time to acknowledge his faithfulness. It is good and proper, and it will also likely spur him on to an even greater witness in the future.

Heavenly Father, give us the wisdom and desire to walk in Your truth and to follow Your commands. And also give us the ability to lead others down that same path as well. May our walk be as faithful witnesses and lights to those whose eyes are watching. We pray this so that You will be glorified in their lives as well! Amen.