Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book of 2 and 3 John

Life Project: 2nd and 3rd John
Candice Roberts
In the letter of 2nd and 3rd John, the Apostle John is writing to the members of his
church. His is writing to those he calls children in the faith. He has the utmost concern
for his "children" to continue in the truth that they have received. In 3rd John 1:4, John
says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
What truth is John so concerned about? He outlines this truth in 1st John which we
read last week. He is concerned that his "children" have a proper Christology, or proper
understanding of who Christ is. He is concerned that his children are loving one
another the way that Christ commanded. And John is concerned that his children have
a proper understanding of mankind.
Having a proper view of mankind is essential to the Christian faith. The Christian faith
is, after all, worked out in our treatment of mankind. John is resolute that the Christians
in his life understand that they are sinners. He has this to say:
"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we
confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all
unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his
word is not in us. "(1 John 1:8-10 NIV)
Why do you think John uses such strong language when describing our sinful state?
Perhaps there were some in the church who felt they had "arrived" spiritually. They
knew Christ and therefore believed they were superior to those who did not yet know
the truth. Perhaps it was so important to John, because to deny our sinful state is to
cheapen God's grace. Christ died once and accomplished victory over sin. One of the
reasons this victory is so earth shattering is because it was a sacrifice for ALL of our
sins for ALL time. And Christ continues to be our advocate before the Father. Because
we need an advocate. John says in 1st John 2:1, " My dear children, I write this to you
so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—
Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only
for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." You see, the sacrifice of Christ was
complete, but we are still sinners; sinners saved by grace.
Now given our understanding that man has a sinful nature, we might be tempted to say
that man is completely evil. Not only are we incapable of doing good, but we are also
incapable of recognizing goodness. But didn't the Bible say that we are created in the
image of God? "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he
created them; male and female he created them."(Genesis 1:27 NIV) And lets not be
tempted to believe that this image was shattered after the fall of man. Because Genesis
9 takes place after the rebellion in the Garden and still asserts that man was made in
the image of God. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed;
for in the image of God has God made mankind. (Genesis 9:6 NIV)
So here are the two truths we know about mankind. Truth 1: We are created in the
image of God. This is such a profound concept that book upon book has been written
about it. But for our sake, lets just assume that means we were created with goodness
in us. Truth 2: Because of rebellion we are born in sin and continue to rebel against
God after our birth making us in need of a Savior. One truth does not erase the other;
which is why the Apostle John can call us sinners and then call us to live holy lives. It is
why John is adamant that we love one another. It is just another reason to worship our
God. He created us and then He redeemed us. How precious people must be to our

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