Having the Father and the Son, Life-Study of 2 John, Message Two, pp. 7-10
NOT PARTICIPATING IN HERESY
Scripture Reading: 2 John 7-13
DECEIVERS AND ANTICHRISTS
Verse 7 says, "Because many deceivers went out into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." The deceivers mentioned here were heretics, like the Cerinthians, the false prophets (1 John 4:1).
These deceivers do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. This means that they do not confess that Jesus is God incarnate. Thus, they deny the deity of Christ. Jesus was conceived of the Spirit (Matt. 1:18). To confess Jesus coming in the flesh is to confess that He was divinely conceived to be born as the Son of God (Luke 1:31-35). The deceivers, the false prophets, would not make such a confession.
In verse 7 John says that those who do not confess Jesus coming in the flesh are not only deceivers but also antichrists. We have seen that an antichrist differs from a false Christ (Matt. 24:5, 24). A false Christ is one who pretends deceivingly to be the Christ, whereas an anti christ is one who denies Christ's deity, denying that Jesus is the Christ, that is, denying the Father and the Son by denying that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 2:22), not confessing that He has come in the flesh through the divine conception of the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:2-3). Whoever denies the Person of Christ is an antichrist.
RECEIVING A FULL REWARD
In verse 8 John goes on to say, "Look to yourselves that you do not lose the things which we wrought, but that you may receive a full reward." Here "look to yourselves" means watch yourselves, watch for yourselves, and "lose" means destroy, ruin.
In verse 8 John speaks of not losing the things which we wrought. The things which the apostles wrought are the things of the truth concerning Christ, which the apostles ministered and imparted to the believers. To be influenced by the heresies regarding the Person of Christ is to lose, destroy, and ruin the precious things concerning the Person of Christ which the apostles had wrought into the believers. Here the apostle warns the believers to watch for themselves lest they be influenced by the heresies and lose the things of the truth.
In verse 8 John also indicates that the believers "may receive a full reward." According to the context, especially verse 9, the full reward must be the Father and the Son as the full enjoyment to the faithful believers, who abide in the truth concerning the Person of Christ and do not deviate from it by the influence of the heresies regarding Christ. This interpretation is justified by the fact that there is no indication this reward will be given in the future, as the rewards mentioned in Matthew 5:12; 16:27; 1 Corinthians 3:8, 13-14; Hebrews 10:35-36; Revelation 11:18; and 22:12. If we are not led astray by the heresies, but abide faithfully in the truth concerning the wonderful and all-inclusive Christ who is both God and man, both our Creator and Redeemer, we shall enjoy in Him the Triune God to the fullest extent as our full reward, even today on earth.
If we lose the precious things wrought into us by the apostles, this means that we do not abide in the truth. Then we shall miss the enjoyment of the Father and the Son. But if we stay in the truth, we shall receive a full reward, a reward that is actually the enjoyment of the Father and the Son. Praise the Lord that such a reward is in view waiting to be enjoyed by us! To enjoy this reward, we need to remain, abide, in the divine truth concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Those, like today's modernists, who do not abide in this truth certainly do not have this enjoyment. For them, there is no reward of the Father and the Son as their enjoyment. If you contact them, you will find them spiritually starved and dry.
GOING BEYOND AND NOT ABIDING
IN THE TEACHING OF CHRIST
In verse 9 John continues, "Everyone who goes beyond and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; he who abides in the teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son." Literally, the Greek word translated "goes beyond" means to lead forward (in a negative sense), that is, to go further than what is right, to advance beyond the limit of orthodox teaching concerning Christ. This is contrasted with abiding in the teaching of Christ. The Cerinthian Gnostics, who boasted of their supposedly advanced thinking concerning the teaching of Christ, had such a practice. They went beyond the teaching of the divine conception of Christ, thus denying the deity of Christ. Consequently they could not have God in salvation and in life.
The modernists today go beyond and do not abide in the teaching of Christ. They also claim to be advanced in their thinking. According to them, it is out of date to say that Christ is God, that He was born of a virgin through divine conception, that He died on the cross for our sins, and that He was resurrected both physically and spiritually. Denying this truth concerning Christ, the modernists claim to be advanced in their philosophical thought. In principle, they follow the way of the Cerinthian Gnostics.
In verse 9 John speaks of not abiding in the teaching of Christ. This is not the teaching by Christ, but the teaching concerning Christ, that is, the truth concerning the deity of Christ, especially regarding His incarnation by divine conception.
HAVING THE FATHER AND THE SON
According to verse 9, the one who goes beyond and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. But he who abides in the teaching of Christ has both the Father and the Son. To "have God" is to "have both the Father and the Son." It is through the process of incarnation that God has been dispensed to us in the Son with the Father (1 John 2:23) for our enjoyment and reality (John 1:1, 14). In the incarnated God we have the Son in His redemption and the Father in His life. We are thus redeemed and regenerated to be one with God organically so that we may partake of and enjoy Him in salvation and in life. Hence, to deny the incarnation is to reject this divine enjoyment; but to abide in the truth of incarnation is to have God, as the Father and the Son, for our portion in the eternal salvation and in the divine life.
This point in verse 9 concerning having both the Father and the Son has helped me to interpret the full reward spoken of in verse 8. The full reward is to have both the Father and the Son for our enjoyment. Today's modernists, like the ancient Gnostics, do not have the Father and the Son, for they do not abide in the teaching of Christ.