“Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward” 2 John 8
John’s letter is a sober reminder that we are in spiritual warfare and if we drop our guard we will suffer loss both now and in eternity. Salvation is the gift of God so that is not what John is writing of here. In his first letter he mentions the spirit of antichrist and in this letter he revisits this subject.
The spirit of antichrist is a deceiver of believers (v 7) and through error deceives people into believing things that are untrue concerning Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “Whatever is only almost true is quite false and among the most dangerous of errors. Because being so near Truth, it is more likely to lead astray.”
If we allow the spirit of antichrist to lead us to believe false teaching concerning Jesus Christ, it will rob us of our present intimacy and fellowship with Jesus Christ and the joy that accompanies it. It will also cause us to be eternally short of where we might have been in intimacy with Jesus.
The spirit of antichrist will also cause defections from truth and love (v 10). Once deceived by false teaching a person will have defected to Satan’s cause. The only protection we have is to continue abiding in the doctrine of Christ. As Paul writes to Timothy, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).
The spirit of antichrist also necessitates divisions and separations in the church (v 10). Separations are neither desired nor pleasant but because the spirit of antichrist is at work within the church it is sometimes necessary. We should not compromise the Gospel or doctrine of Christ for the sake of staying together. We must be discerning and discriminating. It is a sad thing that some churches, in an attempt to maintain numbers or grow, have sacrificed truth concerning Jesus Christ. The outcome is that people are deceived into defecting from Christ to serving antichrist and they are robbed of present joy and eternal reward. It is this reward that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ in and for eternity.
Teaching concerning Jesus Christ is so vital that it is the difference between heaven and hell; between being with Christ or antichrist. To diminish its importance will have eternal fatal consequences.
Daniel Webster wrote, “If truth is not diffused, error will be. If God and His word are not known and received, the devil and his will gain the ascendancy.” The church must hold fast to sound doctrine or its people will suffer great loss.
Love and truth always go together. To truly love others is to use truth to serve them in order that they might have full joy and receive a full reward.