“Has Not God”— 2 John 7-11

The Apostle John writes his second Epistle to the Elect Lady (kuria), an elder over a local assembly (vs. 1). John has bothered himself with defending the Gospel against perversions from heretics in his Epistles. Similiarly, John warns kuria about false teachers and a false Gospel in 2 John.

Vs. 7 says, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who DO NOT CONFESS JESUS CHRIST AS COMING IN THE FLESH. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

From 1 John, John had dedicated most of his writing to defending the humanity/incarnation of Jesus. There were those in the Early Church who taught that Jesus did not really come in the flesh (Docetic Gnostics). These are the “deceivers” here. They are false teachers. The word “deceivers” translates the Greek “planoi” (πλάνοι), which means “those who mislead.

These ones who denied the incarnation (“who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”) were the “antichrists.” John had spoken about them earlier, in 1 John 4, “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that DOES NOT CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST HAS COME IN THE FLESH is NOT OF GOD. And THIS IS THE SPIRIT OF THE ANTICHRIST, which you have heard was coming, and IS NOW ALREADY IN THE WORLD” (vv. 2-3).

The Incarnation (that God became Man) is a core tenet of the Christian faith.

John 1:1, 14 (NKJV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD.

14 And THE WORD BECAME FLESH and DWELT AMONG US, and WE BEHELD HIS GLORY, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Anyone who denies this fact opposes Christ & His message. He is an “antichrist” (from the Greek “antichristos,” meaning “opponent of Christ“).

Vs. 8 says, “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.” It is clear that the believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ on the last day.

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)

10 For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

One of the things Christians will be judged for is sound doctrine (i.e. holding on to the truth of God’s Word). A Christian who does not hold on to sound doctrine will not be completely perfect (in terms of works), and he will lose a reward in this area.

This is what Paul referred to, in Colossians 1:21-23.

Colossians 1:21-23 (NKJV)

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, TO PRESENT YOU HOLY, and BLAMELESS, and ABOVE REPROACH in His sight— 23 IF INDEED YOU CONTINUE IN THE FAITH (sound doctrine), GROUNDED and STEADFAST, and are NOT MOVED AWAY FROM THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.

The holiness, blamelessness and being above reproach (in vs. 22) is in the context of works. If the Christian remains firm in the Gospel (sound doctrine), he will be found perfect in this area, on the last day (read more about this here).

Vs. 9 says to the elect lady to whom John writes, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God…

To “transgress” here (“proagó” in the Greek) is to go beyond what is normal; to pass the limits of sound doctrine. It speaks of those who think they “know better,” and refuse to abide in the doctrine of Christ (The Gnostics were guilty of doing this).

Whoever does this “does not have God,” that is, the knowledge of God, since true knowledge (about God) is only found in the doctrine of Christ. It is through Jesus that we understand the Father. John 1:18 says, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, HE HAS DECLARED HIM.

We honour God through His Son. John 5:23 says, “That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” The more we seek to know Him (Jesus), the more reverence we give to God.

To hate Jesus is to hate the Father also. Jesus says in John 15:23, “He who hates Me hates My Father also.

Eternal life is to know God in Christ. John 17:3 says, “And this is eternal life, that THEY MAY KNOW YOU, the only true God, AND JESUS CHRIST whom You have sent.

Whoever denies the Son denies the Father also, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Therefore, the one who goes beyond the doctrine of Christ cannot truly claim to know God.

Vs. 9 continues, “…He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son (that is, the KNOWLEDGE of both the Father and the Son).”

To “abide” means “to remain,” to stay with (“menó” in the Greek). In the doctrine of Christ, we find understanding of both Christ and God; to know Christ is to know both God and Christ.

John 14:7-11 (NKJV)

7 “If you had KNOWN ME, you WOULD HAVE KNOWN MY FATHER ALSO; and from now on you KNOW HIM and HAVE SEEN HIM” 8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? HE WHO HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I AM IN THE FATHER, and THE FATHER IN ME? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I AM IN THE FATHER and THE FATHER IN ME, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Vs. 10 then gives a warning to the elect lady about fellowship with false teachers. It says, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him.

Generally, the Bible teaches God’s people to give heed to knowledge and wise counsel. Proverbs 19:27 says, “Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” But where the knowledge is corrupted, we are instructed to stay away. It is common to find instructions in the Epistles to avoid false teachers and their teachings (see Rom 16:17-18, 1 Tim 4:7, 6:3-5, 20, 2 Tim 2:16, 23, 3:1-5, Titus 3:9-11).

So John instructs the Elect Lady to have no company with heretics. They should not even be allowed into her home (where her Church met). To identify with false teachers is to share in their error, vs. 11 says, “For he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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