Studies in 2 John [part 4]


2 John :8-13


We live at a time when ‘tolerance’ is the key word to unity, but is not this just a catchphrase to cover up the compromise and dumbing-down of Scriptural truth? What has ‘tolerance’ achieved except disarming the church of its God-given power? Some churches in the first century were compromising with the false teachers and the effects of it were obvious.

Losing out

“Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward” (2 John :8).

It is doubtful that John is speaking about losing salvation in this text, instead it appears that he limits his discussion to the lose of rewards. Those who compromise the truth in any way will lose out. A believer might have done many marvellous works for the Lord and in the end lose his reward due to undermining and watering-down God’s word. It is not only how we start, but also how we finish that matters. The “full reward” is only available to those who truly love and serve the Lord “with all [their] heart, and with all [their] soul, and with all [their] strength, and with all [their] mind” (Luke 10:27).

The apostle Paul states that there will be loss of reward for those who follow unscriptural ways, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Those who go to the next level of compromise, the tampering with the Bible to suit current thinking, will lose their salvation, “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19).

Sin and compromise

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John :9).

Compromising God’s word can be because of sin in the false teacher’s life. He will change the doctrines of Christ to excuse whatever is not right in himself. Those who sin can come to Christ for forgiveness, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Isn’t it encouraging that John did not elevate himself as the false teachers did? Notice he used “we” and “us.” Those who teach doctrines contrary to Scripture exalt themselves and make out that they are sinless, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10). These people do not abide in the truth or in Christ, and because of this do not have God in their lives.

Apostasy is not the result of believing false doctrine; it is practicing false ways too. What we believe is translated into our everyday lives. Those who abide in the doctrines of Christ without deviation have both the Father and the Son. “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:23-25). This relationship with God is not built upon dead orthodoxy but obedience to the living word of God.

No compromise

“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John :10-11).

Believers are not to support false teachers in any way, not even to greet them in God’s name or invite them to our homes. Any encouragement shown to them indicates an agreement with both their unscriptural teachings and evil deeds. If we fellowship with them we are in danger of being seduced, “These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you” (1 John 2:26). We do not need them to teach us anything anyway, “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him” (1 John 2:27). ‘No compromise’ might sound too harsh in today’s spiritual climate, but it is vital for the defence of the Gospel.


“Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen” (2 John :12-13).

John desired to visit this church, hence the brevity of his letter. His personal visit was so that he could both fellowship with the faithful and explain in more detail what he presented here.


Compromise [tolerance] might be fashionable but it is still unscriptural. In trying to accommodate the diverse teachings of men, the modern church has pushed Christ out. The sorry state of what is called Christianity today is the automatic outcome of placing error about God’s word. Many Christians are illiterate concerning the Holy Bible and this is translated into practice. Those who do not honour the truth will not live it, but those who believe erroneous teachings will have unholy lives.