As believers, we are just as much defined by what we reject as what we accept. Sometimes, the line is so incredibly fine, isn’t it. A friend of mine discussed this in a podcast which is well worth a listen, you can do so here…
So, we are defined just as much by what we reject as what we accept, and here John is urging his readers, and us, to reject false teaching.
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.2 John 1.7-11
The idea that Jesus was not a real man is an ancient heresy called docetism and is being refuted in v.7.
“This heresy was coined from the Greek word, “dokesis” which means “to seem”. It taught Jesus only appeared to have a body and was not truly incarnate.”
John starts his first letter by saying that Jesus is the One who ‘…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands…’. The heresies and false teachings surrounding Jesus are as vast as they are varied, and John boils it down to this – everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God.
So, simply, if we reject what the Bible teaches about Jesus, if we reject what Jesus said about Himself, then we do not have God.
v.10 is strong and we are told to not have anything to do with false teachers. This is not to say that those caught under false teaching are to be avoided, they need friends who will tell them the truth in love (Ephesians 4.5). However, those teaching falsehoods about Jesus are to be avoided.
All too often the world will tells us that we need to be more open minded, but we must not let this become empty headed. We can be open minded whilst holding to the truth, but we cannot be empty headed and full of the truth of Jesus.
We are defined as believers just as much by what we reject as what we accept, so let us be the kind of believer that is able to see the truth, discern the truth, and accept the truth. Let us be the kind of believers who see error, recognise error, and reject error.
Point to ponder – Am I straying into error by what I allow into my life?
Prayer – Father, we thank you for your Word, we know your Word is truth, and we know that this truth will set us free. Help us to be saturated with your Word, give us the discipline to make time for your Word, and help us to see that, as Jesus said, that in your Word is the direction to the One in whom there is eternal life. Amen.