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2 John 1:9 by Robert Dean
Series:2nd John (2002)
Duration:1 hr 15 mins 51 secs

Importance of the Incarnation; 2 Jo 9

The main issue in 2 John seems to focus on the body of the epistle from the fourth verse down through the eleventh verse. In vv. 4-6 the focus in on walking in truth. Truth is a key concept in the epistle, along with the idea of walking. Truth is mentioned in verse 1 twice, verse 2 and verse 4. We are to walk according to truth, "in truth." There is this interconnection between truth as absolute truth and truth also as that which is embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ: "I am the truth," John 14:6. He gave a new commandment t love one another and the fulfilment of that commandment to walk in that love for one another is not divorced in this passage from the correct understanding of who Jesus Christ is. Love that is commanded in the New Testament is a love that is articulated by Jesus Christ in terms of what He did on the cross. He said we are to love one another "as I have loved you." So to understand love we must start at the cross. We have to start from the Scriptures in our definitions. It is always the Bible that provides the starting point. When we come to the Scriptures the Bible is going to define for us the parameters of any discussion about any subject. When we go outside of those parameters then what we are relying upon is autonomous or independent human reason or experience and we are assuming that apart from revelation we can come up with some sort of absolute truth. This absolute, of course, is an autonomous absolute truth and then we invariably use that to come back and evaluate the Scriptures.

2 John 1:9 NASB "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." John has already introduced in verse 7 introduced the theme that many deceivers had gone out into the world who do not admit or acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. The verb in v. 9 translated "who goes too far" is the Greek proago [proagw] which means to be out of bounds, it has the idea of departure, to go forth to seed, to go too far. Here it has the idea of going outside the bounds of truth. proago here is a present tense participle. It actually begins with the pronoun pas [paj], "all," and then an articular relative participle, "who goes too far and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ." We have an example here of what is called the Granville-Sharp rule where there are two nouns (in this case the participles as a noun) governed by one article and linked by a conjunction, and that shows that the two are connected and represent the same person. They transgress, go out of bounds, violate the standard of God by not abiding in the doctrine of Christ. The word translated "abide" is meno [menw], and we have seen the word used again and again and again in John's writings to relate to the idea of staying in fellowship with God. So this is not talking about salvation, it is talking about the believer in his post-salvation life. This is describing the believer who is out of fellowship and the believer who has rejected what the Scriptures teach about Jesus Christ.

When we look at the word proago, which means to go out of bounds, go to far, or to transgress or violate a standard, it was one of the favourite words of the Gnostics. It also has other ideas such as to lead forth, to go before, to exceed, and in Gnosticism they thought that they had the secret knowledge or special insight into the ultimate reality in the universe, and one of their key words to express this was proago. They were the leaders, the ones going forth, they were at the cutting edge of human thought. So John picks up this verb and uses it in a sarcastic sense, that whoever goes forth or transgresses are really not going forth and are not really at the leading edge of anything; in fact, they are actually going out of bounds and violating the truth of who Jesus Christ is. This reflects the same problem, then, as we have now when people reject the sufficiency of Scripture. The biggest problem we have in the church today is not that people don't believe in the infallibility of Scripture or in the inerrancy of Scripture but among those who allegedly believe in the inerrancy and the infallibility of Scripture and reject the sufficiency of Scripture. So what they are constantly trying to do is to add something to Scripture. They are constantly impressed with the products of human thought and they seek to reconcile the Bible to those products of human thought.

So what we have here is the expression that whoever goes out of bounds and does not remain in the doctrine of Christ, does not remain with an orthodox Christology, "does not have God." What exactly does John mean by this, that he does not remain in the teaching of Christ? This is what the Scriptures teach about the person of Jesus Christ. "Teaching" is the Greek word didache [didaxh] which is all that has been revealed through the Scriptures about Jesus Christ. The genitive of christos [xristoj] indicates the content of the doctrine. Then he says that the person who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, the orthodox teaching of the Scriptures, does not have God. This doesn't mean he is not a believer. For example, 1 John 2:22, 23 NASB "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also." The term "having God" is a term for fellowship. He is talking about believers and that if they deny Christ after salvation they don't have, don't enjoy this ongoing relationship or fellowship with God. Fellowship with God isn't simply a matter of whether or not we have committed a sin, but if we have a heretical view of the person of Christ we can't be in fellowship. If we hold to a heretical view of Christ we may confess our sin and be in fellowship for a microsecond but our heretical view of Christology is going to keep us from ever maintaining fellowship. What is stated here by John is that whoever goes out of bounds and does not abide/remain in an orthodox biblical view of the person of Christ does not have fellowship with God.

He then goes on to give the flip side of the principle: "the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." That is, he can remain in fellowship. The point is that no one can maintain fellowship with God who has a wrong Christology. We can't advance in the Christian life by being out of bounds doctrinally. Being in fellowship is momentum; abiding in momentum. Abiding in Christ is staying in fellowship. This builds momentum so that we can advance toward spiritual maturity. But the believer who fails to maintain an orthodox view of the Scripture becomes impressed with some external system that is adding something to Scripture—whether it is evolution, sociology, psychology, etc. When that is added to Scripture it always destroys Scripture. This was the problem with Gnosticism, it claimed to have something for everyone.

In the early church this was a problem for the first 500 years of Christianity—dealing with the impact of Greek thought on the church and on the person and work of Jesus Christ. The first major problem that came along was the problem of Aarianism. Arius taught that there was a time when Christ was not: God is eternal but Christ was actually a creature. The modern version of Arianism is the so-called Jehovah's Witness.

Hebrews 4:14 NASB "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." Don't give up on the unique doctrine of the incarnation of Christ. [15] "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as {we are, yet} without sin." We have a high prist who can fully identify with every situation that we go through in life because He is fully human. If He just appeared to be human then we don't have a God who can identify with us at all, and there is no basis for relationship or fellowship. What makes it possible in Christianity for man to have fellowship with God is that we have a God who incarnates Himself as a man, and so in one person there is the creature and the creator united together in the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ. If that is not true then there is no basis for any kind of fellowship with God, no basis for any real connection with God. Hebrews 5:7-9 NASB "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation." He had to go through a learning process just like any other human being. God doesn't learn, He is omniscient. He is a God who understands mankind. In Docetism this humanity is just an illusion, it is not real humanity. In that concept there is no real relationship between God and man.

Why Jesus had to be a man

1.  He had to be a man to generate real historical righteousness. He had to produce real righteousness by the genuine volitional act of a real human being. The New Testament revelation requires that real humanity produce real historical righteousness as the basis or qualification to go to the cross. It is that generation of creaturely righteousness through a human Saviour that is imputed to man so that we can be saved.

2.  Priestly qualification. He can't be a priest without being human; He can't be a mediator without being human.

3.  To be our representative as the second Adam. He can't be a second Adam without being fully human.

4.  His absolute revelation of God. Jesus had to be God so that when we see Jesus we see God. If he is just a man then He doesn't present to us what God is like. He is the full expression of God, according to John chapter one.

5.  He had to be fully man to fulfil the Davidic covenant.

Philip Schaff makes the following comment about the importance of understanding the full incarnation of Christ:

"Regarding half-Docetic incarnation the church could not possibly accept such a view of a mutilated and stunted humanity of Christ, despoiled of its loyal head and such a merely partial redemption as this inevitably involved. The incarnation of the Logos is His becoming completely man. It involves, therefore, the assumption of the entire undivided nature of man, spiritual and bodily, with the sole exception of sin; which, in fact, belongs not to the original nature of man but has had entered from without." So to be a redeemer Christ must also be fully man.