Five Minute Devotions: 1 John 2
John begins this chapter by continuing the themes of 1 John 1 and launching into a poetic discourse of his purposes in writing his epistle. The primary thrust of this chapter involves identifying and eliminating false teaching within the church.
The church at Ephesus and the surrounding churches had been plagued with those claiming that Jesus was not God in the flesh. John emphatically destroys any notion of entertaining this thought in verse 22:
Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? – 1 John 1:22a
Because of this emphasis, 1 John 2 has both specific and general applications to the church today. Specifically, it teaches the church to defend both the divinity and humanity of Jesus. Generally, it teaches us how to deal with the problem of false teachers and false doctrine.
There are two ways to deny the Godhood of Jesus. First, you can claim that Jesus was God, but not man. Second, you can claim that Jesus was man, but not God. John’s specific circumstances dealt toward the former, our modern circumstances usually deal with the latter.
Whatever the case, John is clear: Jesus is both God and man. As he wrote in his Gospel: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). There are those today that want to limit Jesus’ influence to that of simply a good teacher. He taught us about God. He taught us about how to do things for God. But that is not the Gospel message.
Jesus did not come to give us new information about God, a new experience of God, or new things to do for God. He came as God himself. God became flesh. That is a fundamental concept of the Christian faith. Remove either and Christianity falls.
John’s method of dealing with false teachers is clear and unequivocal: they have no place in the kingdom and no place in the church.
They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us. – 1 John 2:19
Please note that John is dealing with serious matters of doctrine, not issues up for debate. John is not talking eschatology or worship style or non-salvific doctrine. He is talking about the essentials of the faith, the things that must be true for Christianity to be true, the things that are non-negotiable.
To deny any essential of the Christian faith is to deny the faith itself. You cannot reform Christianity into your own liking; it reforms you.
Father, we come to you acknowledging and proclaiming your son Jesus to be the Messiah. It is in him that we have remission of sins and through whom we have received eternal life. Today, we pledge to uphold and honor your truth so that we may continue in you, confident and unashamed when we stand before you at your coming.
Why does John connect false teaching with the end of days?
What is the purpose of John’s “Reasons for Writing” excurses in 1 John 2:12-14?
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