2 John 1:7 by Robert Dean
Series:2nd John (2002)
Duration:58 mins 35 secs

The Love Commandment Updated; 2 John 5-6


There are two instruments by which we live the Christian life. The first is the Word of God, the truth of God's Word, and the second is the Holy Spirit of God. The Word of God always works in conjunction with the Spirit, and the Spirit of God always works through the Word of God. They do not operate independent of one another. The Scripture says that we are to walk by means of the Spirit, Galatians 5:16; we are to walk by means of the truth, 2 John 4. The Holy Spirit illuminates our thinking to understand the Word, to apply the Word, so that He can use it in our lives to produce spiritual growth and spiritual fruit.

A key word in 2 John is the word "commandment," v. 5 NASB "Now I ask you, lady, not as though {I were} writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning [of the church age], that we love one another." This is specifically impersonal love for other believers.

2 John 1:7 NASB "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." The first word in the Greek is hoti [o(ti], a causal use, and should be translated "because." Whenever we see the word "because" we ought to notice that the author is giving us a reason for something. Here he is giving us a reason for the command in verse 6, that we should walk by means of love. Why? Because there are deceivers. Notice there is a direct contrast between deception and the concept of truth and love as articulated in vv. 4-6. So vv. 7-11 gives us the core purpose for this epistle. He is warning the congregation not to be taken in by certain teachers who are going throughout Asia-Minor at this time claiming to have association with the apostles (and they very well could have at an earlier date). In many cases they were believers but have now changed the truth of the Word for a lie and are distorting the teachings about who Jesus Christ is. These, he explains, are those who do not admit [homologeo/o(mologew, the same word we have in 1 John 1:9] or acknowledge Jesus Christ "coming [present participle] in the flesh. This is a deceiver and the antichrist."

2 John 1:8, a warning. NASB "Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward." In other words, if we get taken in by deception then this will destroy our spiritual life and whatever spiritual growth we had will be lost, and whatever rewards we might have already earned will be lost. [9] "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching [doctrine] of Christ, does not have God…" That indicates the concept of having Gods as a term for fellowship, as is the term "abide" which is used twice in verse 9. "… the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son."

Christian fellowship is one of the most abused terms in Christianity. What most people mean when they talk about Christian fellowship is simply Christian social interaction. There is nothing wrong with Christian social interaction but if there two Christians having social interaction getting drunk, or gambling away their pay check down at the cassino, that is not Christian fellowship. Just because two people are Christians does not mean when they have great social interaction that that is Christian fellowship; it is not. The difference between Christian social interaction and true Christian fellowship is that Christian fellowship has as its centre and focus the Word of God. The difference is that two believers can be living on the basis of the sin nature and having a great time of social interaction but it is not based on the Word of God and on doctrine where both individuals are in fellowship with God. The issue is not fellowship with man, the issue is fellowship with God. And if we are not in fellowship with God we can't be in fellowship with other believers. What John emphasises in both 1st John and 2nd John is that you can't have fellowship with God unless you have true doctrine. If the doctrine is false you can't have fellowship with God, especially in the arena of your understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ. See I John 1:1-4. The point is that without accurate doctrine related to the person and work of Jesus Christ there can be no fellowship with God and there can be no Christian fellowship. Fellowship is relationship but you can't have a relationship if there is false doctrine operating or if there is sin operating in the life. So fellowship is based on two things: accuracy of doctrine at the fundamental level about the person and work of Jesus Christ, as well as not having sin in the life, or if there is then it is confessed and the believer instantly moves forward. 

The issue with these deceivers is that they do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This was a basic problem in false teaching in the early church. We must understand that these deceivers were attacking the early church's teaching on who Jesus Christ is in terms of His true humanity and true deity.

  1. Attacks on the doctrine of Christology assault one of four areas: a) the virgin birth. This is typical of Protestant liberalism that submitted the Scriptures to the understanding of human reason. This occurred in the 19th century and one of the first things that they did was to attack the whole concept of the virgin birth; b) there is an assault on the incarnation [to be in flesh, that Jesus became true humanity] of Christ. In other words, this is an assault on the person of Christ; c) there is an attack on the substitutionary atonement, the work of Christ on the cross; d) there is an attack on His resurrection, i.e. He didn't really rise from the dead bodily.
  2. There are two basic assaults on His person. The first is an attack on His deity, a rejection of His undiminished deity, and the second is an attack on His humanity. The hypostatic union talks about the union of two natures—undiminished deity and true, unfallen humanity—and that these were united together in one person.
  3. Among Christians in the early and medieval church (Christian in a general sense) the deity of Christ was never in doubt. They may not have known how to express it correctly but generally speaking there was not a problem with the full deity of Christ until about the time of the Reformation with the beginning of Unitarianism. It is not until Unitarianism in the 19th century and modern liberalism that there were so-called Christians rejecting the deity of Christ in toto. That is not to say that there weren't problems with the deity of Christ, e.g. adoptionism, but they still understood Christ as God in some sense.
  4. Among non-Christians and some sects the attack was really on the humanity of Christ. This was clearly seen in a group known as the Docetists. This is taken from the Greek word dokeo [dokew] which has the idea of appearance—that Jesus just appeared to be a man. They were attacking His true humanity.
  5. What are some of the problems with this? A less than fully divine Jesus can't provide salvation. First of all, He would lack perfect righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NASB "He made Him who knew no sin {to be} sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." So the righteousness that is imputed to us at salvation is God's righteousness. If Jesus Christ is not God then we can't acquire through imputation the perfect righteousness God demands in order to be saved. Second, a fully divine Jesus is infinite, even though His humanity is finite and His deity is infinite, and therefore whatever the person of Christ does has infinite value. Therefore He is able to pay the penalty for all sins for all mankind. The third reason Jesus must be fully divine is that He is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), and a mediator must partake of both sides of the conflict. He must be fully God and truly human in order to be a mediator. So Jesus must be fully divine, otherwise He can't provide perfect righteousness, His sacrifice won't have infinite value, and He can't be a mediator.
  6. Jesus must be fully human in order to: a) be a substitute for mankind. In order to substitute for someone like must substitute for like. As God He could not substitute for man; He had to become true humanity; the penalty had to be paid by a human being; b) to be a mediator; c) to be Israel's Messiah; d) to fulfil Old Testament prophecy where He would be a descendant of Abraham, the seed of Abraham. Genesis 12:1-3; 15; e) He had to be in the tribe of Judah, a descendant of David; f) in order to fulfil the Davidic covenant. In order to be the son of David and heir to the Davidic kingship he had to be true humanity, 2 Samuel 7:8-16; Psalm 89:20-37; g) in order to fulfil the office of prophet. Jesus is prophet, priest and king. The aspect of the Davidic covenant fulfils the kingship. To fulfil the office of prophet He had to be a man; h) to fulfil the office of priest, to be our high priest, 1 Peter 2:9. A priest represents man before God and in order to represent man before God Jesus Christ had to be true humanity, Hebrews 7:4, 5, 14, 28; i) in order to pioneer the spiritual life for the church age believer, a spiritual life based on the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit. In order to handle temptation He relied upon the Holy Spirit because He was demonstrating the spiritual life for the church age, how believers can handle temptation through the problem-solving devices, relying upon the filling of the Holy Spirit and walking by means of the Spirit. 
  7. Conclusion: Therefore the attack on the incarnation which was experienced in the early church, that Jesus Christ did not some in the flesh, undermines both salvation and sanctification. This is why John is making such a crucial issue out of those who were not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.
  8. The virgin birth, then, is the basis for the incarnation and the humanity of Christ. It is therefore the basis for understanding the person of Christ. Isaiah 7:14 predicted this and is quoted in Matthew 1:23 by Gabriel when he announces to Mary that she is going to become pregnant as a virgin. NASB "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US." Luke 1:27 confirms this: NASB "to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary." Mary gives birth to the humanity of Jesus Christ but He is preincarnate and His deity is eternal. 
  9. In His humanity Jesus grew. Luke 2:52 NASB "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Jesus grew and developed in His mentality, "in wisdom." He learned like every other baby learned. In His deity he knew everything but in His humanity he still went through the growth process.
  10. There is tremendous evidence of His humanity in the Gospels. He suffers physical pain on the cross; He grows weary and physically tired; He thirsted; He was hungry; he had physical pleasure; He rested; He died physically and He was resurrected physically.
  11. He has titles that indicate His humanity. He is called the Son of Man; He is called the man Christ Jesus; He is called the son of David, indicating His Davidic inheritance; He is called a man of sorrows. Furthermore, we are told that His body was composed of flesh and blood, Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 4:2, 3.