“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” – 2 John 1:9
John is writing to in his role as elder to one of his church leaders (the elect lady) to be on their guard against false doctrine that must have at the time been circulating around the region where “John’s churches” were located. Although I usually retreat from taking a particular verse out of context when reflecting on scripture, this particular verse is not diminished in its impact in any manner by doing so.
John declares first, “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God.” Upon reflection one phrase and two words are noteworthy and key to understanding the depth of what the Holy Spirit is revealing here. First the phrase, “Goes on ahead, “which in the King James Version is shortened to the word “transgress” and gives more meaning and impact to the reader. To transgress (according to Miriam Webster) is to “violate a law or command (Sin),” or “to go beyond a boundary.” Next two words stood out, abide (put up with, stand for, bear, stomach, take, tolerate) - “to accept without objection;” and have (eco in the Greek language) which is used “of those joined to any one by the bonds of natural blood or marriage or friendship or duty or law; to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing, and to hold fast keep.”
In the second half of the verse John continues, “Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.” Simply if one does what is stated in the first declaration one can take comfort that he or she are joined in a bond likened to that of a marriage covenant with both God and Jesus Christ.
Seems quite simple, writing it out in expanded form:
“Everyone who goes beyond God’s boundaries into sin and does not accept without objection the teaching of Jesus Christ, he or she is not a part of the strong family bond of friendship with God. However if one does accept without objection the teaching of Christ we are joined in a family relationship with both God the Father and God the Son.”
Let us pray. Father thank you for your word, thank you for its directness and thank you that is able to judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Forgive us Lord when we did not abide in your love and strayed from the safety of your boundaries. Thank you for providing us a way back through the blood of your Son Jesus Christ. Revive our spirits as we humbly come before you in repentance and thank you for receiving us back into your family. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!