Thursday, October 20, 2022
For such a short letter, John really packs a lot into it. The greeting, which, if I am being honest, often gets skimmed, offers some insight into what the letter contains. He mentions truth or the truth four times in the greeting alone. I think his point is that truth matters. So, what is the truth that he is talking about? Verse 9 talks about abiding in the teaching of Christ. This is the truth that is empathized in his greeting. Verse 7 says that a deceiver is one who does not confess (believe) that Jesus Christ came in the flesh – that he was a real man who lived on this earth. No one likes to find out they were deceived, tricked, or made to look foolish because they believed a lie. The truth is that Jesus is the Son of God, he did live on the earth, he did preach a message of the coming kingdom, he did die for our sins, he was raised up, and he will come back. We are to abide in that teaching, in that truth.
I looked up abide and was surprised at the many definitions it has. Here are a few:
- to accept or act in accordance with
- to remain in a stable or fixed state
- to continue in a particular condition, attitude, or relationship
- to be able to live with or put up with
Not only are we to abide in this truth, but to NOT abide in it is to NOT have God. That is a scary thought!
John provides a warning to us in verse 8 to “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward”. He warns us because there will be “many deceivers” – many people who won’t be abiding in the truth about Jesus. The only way to know if you are being told the truth or if you are being deceived is to “test everything” (I Thessalonians 5:21). In order to do that, we need to know the truth ourselves. We need to “test” what we are being taught against what is in God’s word, the Bible.
- Todd & Amy Blanchard
- Have you ever been deceived by someone? How did you learn about the truth and what steps have you taken so you aren’t deceived in that way again?
- How can you apply that to being watchful with regard to your faith walk (walking in the truth)?
- Being aware that knowledge of the truth prevents deception, how can you share your knowledge to help keep others from being deceived?