2 John (NLT)
This letter is from John, the elder.
I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.
Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.
I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.
If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.
By Chuck Griffin
While we call them “books of the Bible,” some of those books really are just short letters. Second John is printed in its entirety above.
The “chosen lady” likely is a personification of the recipient church, with her “children” being the members of that church. The last line of the letter seems to confirm this, showing the letter’s author wrote from a “sister” church.
I have a particular fondness for this letter because it emphasizes the nature of Christian love. Yes, we are to be very open and giving with our love. This agape love for each other does not mean, however, that we forget to first love God. We love God by obeying what he commands of us in Scripture and telling the truth about those commands to others.
Even in Christianity’s earliest days, the church struggled with deceivers, with “antichrists,” people who pose as bringers of a holy message but who actually are looking out for their own unholy interests. They will deny the reality of the resurrection; they will deny other teachings clearly communicated in the New Testament about God’s expectations of us.
No doubt, such deceivers will be with us until Christ returns in full. John the Elder could have written this letter to any of our churches today.
Love and truth walk hand in hand. In fact, it is a very unloving thing to deceive people about God’s expectations for his followers, or to allow these deceptive teachings to happen in the midst of Christian fellowship. Too much is at stake.
Lord, help us to discern clearly what is being spoken in the midst of our congregations, testing what we hear against the revelation found in your Holy Bible. Amen.