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.2 John 1:7(NASB)
The second epistle of John is a short but very personal letter to a lady who was beloved by the apostle John in particular, as well as the wider Church in general. Also named in the epistle were her children - some of whom were walking in the truth of the gospel of Christ. What a joy to both this aging apostle and the lady to whom he was writing, to have children walking in spirit and truth.
This letter to 'The Chosen Lady' as she is called, covers some vitally important information because it teaches those who desire to walk in spirit and truth how they may develop Christian love and grace as they journey through life. This tiny letter also presents believers with a severe warning against false teachers who were living in their midst, and warns of the danger of being influenced by their deceitful practices.
Attempts to destabilise the Church and destroy the ministry of believers began during those early days of Christianity. Indeed, every New Testament author counselled believers to beware of different types of deceptive practices, many of which continue to this day. In this letter, the apostle John warns his readers: "Many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh." He warns of the deeply held view of gnostics who did not accept that Jesus came to earth in the flesh (one of the fundamentals of the Christian faith - that Christ was not only fully God but also fully human).
In those days, there were many travelling missionaries and preachers who blew in and out of Christian communities and caused great confusion and distress by teaching a different gospel and proclaiming a different Christ. Peter warned of damnable heresies from teachers who even denied the truth of the gospel of God and the Lord Jesus Who bought them, while Jude, like James, denounced the various heresies that were brought into the Church by false teachers who turned the grace of God into wantonness and ungodly liberality.
Similarly, many of Paul's epistles called for the Body of Christ to be discerning and for pastors like Titus and Timothy to challenge those that strayed from the gospel of God. Paul knew that after his departure, savage wolves would try to enter the Church, introducing doctrines of demons and attempting to seduce God's people from the truth. Or, these vicious people would try to introduce legalistic rules together with a works-based gospel, denying Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and contradicting Christ's finished work on Calvary as the one and only way to be saved.
John was the last of Christ's apostles, but his warning to believers that deceivers abounded in society and false teachers had gone out into the world, resounded throughout his writings. He wanted believers to be discerning and to be able to identify that anyone who refused to acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and that Jesus is fully God and fully Man, is a deceiver who should be labelled as an antichrist.
But it was not only in those early days of the Church that false teachers and demonic doctrines were evident. Today there are those that deny Christ's humanity and others that deny His deity. There are those that place Christians under a legalistic burden, while others are seduced into acting like the world, stealing from the flock, twisting the Word of God for their own gratification, or substitute the gospel of Christ for a social gospel.
As the world thunders towards God's inevitable judgement of this God-hating, Christ-rejecting, sinful world, there are an increasing number of false teachers trafficking a twisted gospel and peddling a false Christ to undiscerning people. John was keen that 'The Chosen Lady' and her children, as well as the Christians in general, must hold fast to Scriptural truth; that Jesus was God the Son Who came to earth as a real Man at His first coming, that He came as a sacrificial offering for the sin of the world, and that He came to earth as Man Who knew no sin so that He could shed His human blood to pay that price for the sin of the world and to reconcile fallen man back to God.
As we rejoice in our great salvation, let us become increasingly familiar with the truth of the gospel. May we be ready to share it with the lost, to study it day by day to show ourselves approved unto God, to grow in grace and in a knowledge of Christ, to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Him, and to look for the any day return of Jesus to take us to be with Himself.
And may we do ALL for HIS praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, as we live through these last moments of this Church Age, deception and doctrines of demons are infiltrating all areas of our lives and even our churches. Give me discernment to walk in the truth of Your Word and not be deceived by people or ideas that are not of You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
Never miss a post