2 John 7-13
But Love Not Falsehood
In the history of the Church, Satan has employed two primary methods in his effort to thwart that divine institution against which the gates of hell shall never prevail (Matthew 16:18): 1) Persecution; and, 2) Heresy and false teachers. Against such demonic stratagems, it is necessary for God’s people to encourage and hold one another accountable, to teach and minister to one another in the midst of a hostile world—a world in which former brethren who have embraced false doctrine might indeed be their worst enemies. For this reason, early Christians depicted the Church as the ark in the midst of a deluge of demonic forces, inside of which believers were safe.
In this case, the Apostle who has just reminded believers to love one another encourages them to stand together against “deceivers [who] have gone out into the world.” And who are these deceivers? They are “those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh,” what we call the Incarnation. The Incarnation and the resurrection of the body are the two doctrines which prove to be the biggest stumbling blocks to both Jew and Gentile alike (Acts 17:32; 1 Corinthians 1:23). These doctrines offend people either because they think an incarnation beneath God or the resurrection of the body ridiculous. But the gospel hinges on these two doctrines: God’s coming to take our place by becoming man and then rising from the dead for our justification before the Father.
The Apostle minces no words: “Such a one is a deceiver and the antichrist.” Christians are not even to greet him. And how did these become deceivers? They went on ahead and did not abide in the teaching of Christ. In other words, they went beyond the apostolic doctrine which we have in the New Testament. And as a result, they do “not have God.” But we who abide in the true doctrine have both the Father and the Son—who can never be separated from one another.
Christians are encouraged to go deeper into the faith—never beyond it. And there are great theologians out there you could read to do so. I might recommend John Owen’s, Christologia (Works, vol. 1). Like a good minister, John prefers to see his charges face to face, which makes Second John a short letter indeed. Such a meeting brings more joy than a letter. And he sends greetings from their “elect sister,” the church from which he writes. And such “sisters” constitute Christ’s “bride.”