Epistles (Letters)

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Epistles of John

1st, 2nd, and 3rd  Epistles of John

Like Jude and other epistles, John warned us about false teachings in their letters to the elders and followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The First, Second, and Third Epistles of John are attributed to John the Evangelist; they warn us to be aware of the Truth and avoid deception, crooked and straight, brightness and darkness, Love and hatred, wicked and righteous, believers and unbelief, Christ and antichrist, almost unending pros and cons to mention. John shows the Body of Christ (church) how to tell if they are children of God and discern false teachings, false prophets, and the like, trying to deceive them by getting their minds under the spell.

Injecting fear is the most common practice of these false teachers. John reminds us to be mindful, stay focused on His Holiness, and not be distracted by their excellent talk. There is no truth coming out of their mouth. They should be ashamed of their chosen profession; they are folly, falsehood, and a disgrace to their family. Fear is our immediate response to challenges from the unknown. Our all-knowing God cannot be taken by surprise. He is the sovereign God that can take our fear out of our being. God had not given us the Spirit of fear but power, Love, and a sound mind. Submit to Him in full and without doubt, and He will take care of the fear of our senses.

“There is no fear in Love, but perfect Love casts out fear because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in Love.”— 1 John 4:18 WEB

 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore, they speak of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God listens to us. He who is not of God doesn’t listen to us. By this, we know the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of error.…” 1 John 4:4-6 WEB. God is Love; whoever does not love does not know God.

Spirit and Truth the enemy hates. The enemy does not speak about the Spirit of Light but of darkness. Even if they claim that they have fellowship with God and use the name of God, we must not ignore the discerning power given to us in lightness that they are the deceiver that walks in darkness. Lies cover lies, and the only weapon we use is not to live out the Truth, for the Truth will set us free. The Spirit combined with the Truth of the Word is from God, and the Spirit with the combination of Lies is of darkness.  

 In 1 John1:5-7, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the Truth; but if we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sins.….” The enemy will never sleep until it does an evil thing. The days are not over until someone submits to His attacks. We have to be still with our faith and believe that we are not alone from the attack, and once we submit ourselves to the power of God to withstand the assault, they will flee from us, for they only strike and demolish the helpless people without the Father.

God has given us eternal life, which is in his Son, the grace of God. Through the Son Jesus, we are reconciled with the Almighty Father; through him, we learn how to be justified and sanctified; through the Son’s request, we receive the Spirit of God to dwell within us. Imagine how much our Father Almighty loves us, calling us His children. That is what we are; we should act the way He acted. Jesus said to Love one another as I have loved you. Love is the greatest weapon against hate. Jesus added, “If the world hates you, know it hated me before you.” The Father and the Son are full of Love and are one as we are one with them. Whoever loves has been born of God.

The message of 1 John is about Love, Truth, and faith.

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2nd Epistle of John was addressed to “the elect lady and her children” and commended for her piety. She is warned against false teachers and continues to live in Love and Truth. And not allow these false teachers to remain in their congregation to avoid the dangers of falling away from the Truth which they have to protect. 2 John is also reminding the followers of Jesus to reflect God’s Light and Love and stay focused on the Holy One the giver of life, the one, and genuine God.   

3rd Epistle of John is to correct those who are wrong, encourage fellowship and generous reception among believers, and encourage them to return to those who walk away from the faith. John saw this behavior as a distinct responsibility of the Christian faith. Though John does not mention any doctrinal views, his message in this personal letter to Gaius is about extending hospitality to those he doesn’t know. Welcome, especially those who have been called to do ministry work with some extraordinary hospitality and those who are new to the faith with the same generosity.

The highlight of this personal letter is for Christians to work together so that the ministry will not depend on the support of non-believers. The need for Christians to support each other is critical to minimize the burden that the missionaries and evangelists may encounter when testifying the Truth of the word of God. With problems in the early church, missionary activity was dearly needed. So many workers are needed, but only a few responded.

If we acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness, we also acknowledge God’s superiority. Therefore, we should submit to God all our shortcomings and humbly admit that we are sinners who need His mercy and grace.

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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