Style vs. Substance | 2 John 1:7-13
2 John 1:7-13 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work. I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. The children of your chosen sister send their greetings.
False teaching always contains a bit of truth. That’s what makes it attractive. Satan, after all, comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). He is a master at mixing a good bit of truth with a little bit of error which, of course, ends ups being all error and very dangerous. The false teaching in John’s day…and ours…usually centers on an incomplete doctrine of Christ.
A biblical Christology (Doctrine of Christ) is clear that Jesus was fully God and fully man. In his being God, he lost none of his humanity; in his being man, he lost none of his deity. Here, the “deceivers” did not “acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” They rejected the true nature of Jesus and those who accepted the teaching were led astray. John is clear that whoever “does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God.”
No doubt, the teaching of the “deceivers” was well scripted, illustrated, humorous, and entertaining. So it is today. Be careful. When you are attracted to style and forget about substance, you are standing on a slippery slope.
Father, give us hearts of discernment. May we be so grounded in the truth that we can spot error from a mile away. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.