II John: 9-13 Doctrine And Life.
The key point that John had to make was that Jesus was fully human. His being true flesh and blood means he identifies with us completely in our humanity-without sin. It is because he was and is without sin that we have redemption. The other point he emphasized was that true love means that we walk according to God’s commandments. Doctrine and life are equally important. Whoever does not abide “in the doctrine of Christ,” has neither the Father or the Son (v. 9 Cf. Jn. 7:16; 8:31; I Jn. 2:19, 23-24). So critical was this doctrine concerning Christ that he commanded the church to refuse fellowship to those claiming to be Christians, but who did not hold to this doctrine (v. 10 Cf. I Kgs. 13:11-22; Rom. 16:17; II Th. 3:6; Titus 3:10 [II Th. 3:14]). To do so is to share “in his evil deeds” (v. 11). False doctrine that is so critical is a transgression and evil. The above two points were critical to John, in this letter and in his first, but he also expressed his desire to see them face to face, and to do so with joy (v. 12 Cf. III Jn. 13-14). To that end he also sent greetings from another children of another elect sister (v. 13).
II John: 7-8 Jesus’ True Humanity.
It is well known that at the time of the writing of the NT, there were various forms of Gnosticism present. One expression of this, in respect to Jesus, was that they believed that he only appeared to be really human. Instead they believed that he was of some kind of celestial substance and nature. It was as a result of what is called Docetism, and other heretical views of Christ, that the early church formulated the confession of Chalcedon. One of the serious implications of such a deviation, is that it would make Jesus sufferings irrelevant to us, and if he was not truly human then his active and passive obedience would also be meaningless to us as a substitutionary atonement. More important than these and other ramifications, it would make Jesus out to be a liar, as well as the Scriptural testimony as false, because they all with one voice affirm his true humanity (v. 7). From the beginning of his birth, there is no doubt that he shared in all ways in our humanity-without sin.
The writer to the Hebrews stressed the point of his taking on flesh and blood so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest, able to sympathize with us in our weakness. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same” (2:14a). “Therefore, in all things He had to be like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (vv. 17-18). This is not just a difference of opinion. That which is contrary to the Scriptural testimony is heresy, the product of deceivers, the work of the antichrist (I Jn. 2:22-23; 4:1-3). Therefore John warns his audience to hang on to the truth of scripture which they have been taught. It will ultimately lead to our shared reward, in this life and in the next (v. 8).
II John: 4-6 Walking According To Truth And Love.
John “rejoiced greatly” that there were children “walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father” (v. 4 Cf. III Jn. 3-4; I Th. 2:19-20). Again he addresses the main recipient here as ‘lady’, whom he has already qualified as the ‘Elect lady’. Here he pleads with her that they follow the commandment to love one another (v. 5 Cf. I Jn. 3:11; 4:7, 11; Jn. 13:34-35; 15:12, 17). “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (v. 6 Cf. Jn. 14:15 Cf. I Jn. 2:5; 5:3; III Jn. 3; Ps. 26:3; 86:11). Walking according to the truth means living with his commandments in view as the standard. This is also what it means to love one another.
II John: 1-3 Elect Through Sovereign Grace.
John could have written this second letter as an apostle, but instead he uses the title of ‘The Elder’ (Cf. I Pet. 5:1-4). In his address he uses the title of ‘Elect’ as a title that all believers share, a title denoting grace, God’s sovereign unmerited favour, from which all the benefits of our salvation flow (Cf. v. 13). As a recipient of God’s covenantal grace, her children were also included. These were folks whom John, and all those who knew the truth, also loved with agape love (v. 1). Furthermore, not only are they elect according to grace, but their election is forever, because the truth abides in us (Jn. 14:6; I Jn. 5:6). Those whom God has chosen will persevere because they are preserved forever (v. 2). It is on the basis of grace that they and we also have mercy and peace. All three of these blessings come from God because of the good pleasure of his sovereign will-Father and Son (v. 3 Cf. I Tim. 1:2; Eph. 1:5; Phil. 2:13).