Love and Heresy
Lord, You are the God of truth and love, the author of grace and peace. I come in confidence and trust.
Read 2 JOHN 1-13
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
There are some serious differences in the church today. To live in love and in truth requires a large measure of wisdom and discernment.
It seems very likely that this letter is written by John the evangelist, partly because the writing and vocabulary echo John’s Gospel and his other letters. The letter is most likely addressed to a church—to the chosen people of God, the bride of Christ—because the word “you” is always plural in the letter.
Whereas Paul in Romans was mainly concerned with divisions over non-essentials, John is concerned with those who have left the church to teach that Jesus did not come in the flesh; they denied the incarnation and also the atonement and the resurrection. All grace, mercy, hope and forgiveness are therefore lost to them and they are lost. He has already dealt at length with this in his first letter (1 John 4:1-3). Truth is faith (what we believe), and truth is practice (how we live): “Truth is a vital force that can be personified as living in us and being with us” (M.M. Thompson). God’s truth is, of course, totally true and will remain truth for eternity. Nothing unbelievers, heretics or the muddle-headed can say or teach can change the truth, but they can miss the real splendor of the Gospel, live impoverished lives and lead others astray.
How well did this church know those who had been members but had moved out to preach a different gospel? Such deep divisions historically have separated close friends and family members. To welcome them back into the house church might have given the impression to vulnerable new Christians that the differences were trivial; it might have given them automatic permission to speak and discuss doctrinal issues. But if they were considered enemies of the church and its people then did Paul’s repetition of the command to love your enemies and feed them if they are hungry, apply?
Do you allow the command to love (6) to overwhelm the need for discernment (8)? Pray for wisdom in this regard.
Lord, I pray for wisdom to know how to respond in love and truth where there are differences of belief within my church.
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