“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” John explains that “We love Him because He first loved us,” which was displayed by His perfect, innocent Son going to the cross to die for wretched sinners like we are.
John tells the church that the “whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” John is speaking of Satan, who took the dominion of the world from Adam and Eve back in the garden. However, Jesus came to rescue us from the evil one and provide us with eternal life. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?… And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”
John’s second letter is written to “the elect lady” which is more likely a church congregation rather than one specific woman. In this letter John once again encourages a church body to love one another. “And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. This is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”
John concludes the second letter, warning them of deceivers who are antichrists and exhorting them to abide in the teachings of Christ.
John’s final letter is written to his friend Gaius. John commends him for being hospitable to traveling missionaries and for walking in truth. But John rebukes a man named Diotrephes who loves power and position and putting himself above others. Then he tells Gaius, “do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.”
Tomorrow we read a letter written by Jude, brother of James and half-brother of Jesus, and we begin the final book of the Bible, Revelation. We are in the home stretch of this magnificent story, so keep reading! A(1 John 4:7-5:21, 2 John 1:1-13, 3 John 1:1-14)