Be Holy

1Peter 1:15-16 But as he which has called you is holy, so be you holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be you holy; for I am holy. 

‘So be you holy in all manner of conversation’ paganism scarcely produced a god whose example was not the most abominable. Their greatest gods were paragons of impurity, of sexual excess and perversion. Here Christianity has an infinite advantage over heathenism. God is holy and He demands all His followers to be like Him (1:15-16; Heb. 12:14). All impure conversations must be avoided at all cost (1Cor. 15:33; Matt. 12:36).

‘Be you holy; for I am holy.’ This verse is quoted from Leviticus 11:44. If men are not holy, they are not saved; if they are saved, they are holy. In fact, every born again person is holy according to 1John 2:29; 3:5-10; 5:1-4, 18; 2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:24; etc. No man will have any part in the first resurrection [rapture] without holiness of life: “Blessed AND HOLY is he that has a part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6; 22:11). The following Scripture also commands holiness: “That we . . . might serve him without fear, IN HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS before him, all the days of our life” (Luke 1:74-75); “Even so now yield your members’ servants TO RIGHTEOUSNESS UNTO HOLINESS . . . you have your fruit UNTO HOLINESS, and the end everlasting life” (Rom. 6:16-23); “For if the first fruit BE HOLY, the lump is ALSO HOLY: and if the root BE HOLY, SO ARE THE BRANCHES” (Rom. 11:16); “Present YOUR BODIES a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable unto God” (Rom. 12:1); “You are the temple of God . . . the temple of God IS HOLY, which temple you are” (1Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20); “Cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God” (2Cor. 7:1); “He has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME before Him in love” (Eph. 1:4); “And that you put on the new man, which after God is created IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS” (Eph. 4:24) “That it [the body of Christ] should BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH” (Eph. 5:25-27); “To present you HOLY AND UNBLAMEABLE AND UNREPROVEABLE in his sight” (Col. 1:20-23; 3:12); “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but UNTO HOLINESS” (1Thess. 4:3-7); “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all THE HOLY BRETHREN” (1Thess. 5:27); “Who has saved us, and called us with an HOLY CALLING” (2Tim. 1:9); “That they be in behaviour AS BECOMETH HOLINESS.. . Teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, WE SHOULD LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY, IN THIS PRESENT WORLD” (Titus 2:3, 11-14); “Wherefore, HOLY BRETHREN, partakers of the heavenly calling. . . Follow peace with all men, AND HOLINESS, WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God” (Heb. 3:1; 12:10, 14).

Modern religionists can argue all that they want to that no man can be holy and live free from sin, but it is certainly clear that no man who does not live this way will ever see God in peace. If men cannot live this way, then there cannot be any such thing as Christians and saved men either now or in eternity. Men do not have to belong to any particular group who are classed as holiness on Earth, but it is certain that without being holy in God they are lost, so let us all become holy in Christ. The new birth means more than a mere profession of faith that Jesus is the Son of God or that one is saved because of water baptism, attendance of a religious nature, partaking of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, and a lot of other substitutes that some men are trusting in to save their souls. One must become honest and face facts and be saved the Bible way or be lost. The responsibility of conforming to truth is yours. You will be saved or lost as you accept the message of God and obey the gospel.  Give your life to God and do not be satisfied with anything short of becoming a new creature in Christ and then you can experience eternal life.

As Obedient Children

1Peter 1:13-14 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 

‘Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober …’ Seven commands are given here for Christians: Gird up the loins of your mind (1:13). This means to brace up and take courage in face of the trials that one is called to go through. Be sober (1:13). The Greek word nepho, to live soberly [not under the influence of any alcohol or pharmaceutical products] and righteously (cp. Tit. 2:11-12). Hope to the end for the grace and salvation that are to be brought at the coming of Christ (1:13; Rom. 8:24-25). This further confirms the fact that all of grace and salvation is not received at the remission of sins. Do not pattern after your former life of sin (1:14; Eph. 2:1-3). You are new creatures and you must live new lives (2Cor. 5:17-18). Be holy in all your manner of life (1:15). You are to pattern after God in all things (1:16; 2:21-23). Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (1:17; 1Cor. 10:12-13), that is to have a holy reverence towards God and His commandments that are there for our protection. See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently (1:22; John 13:34-35; 15:12-13).

‘And hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ this is the 3rd New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled. It will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ, at which time the full blessings of grace and of eternal redemption will begin to be realized by all men on earth.

‘As obedient children’ this expression is the same as ‘children of obedience’ which stands in direct opposition of ‘children of disobedience.’ We are a child of whatever we choose to follow, and it can never be contrasts. You are either a child of obedience, light (Luke 16:8; John 12:36), righteousness and thus a child of God (Matt. 5:9, 45; Luke 20:36; Rom. 8:16; Gal. 3:26), or you are a child of disobedience (Eph. 2:2; 5:6), darkness (1Thess. 5:5), unrighteousness and thus a child of satan (Matt. 13:38; Acts 13:10; 1John 3:10).

‘Fashioning’ the Greek word suschematizo meaning to conform to another’s example.

‘According to the former lusts in your ignorance’ a nine-fold former state is described in Ephesians 4:17-19 of a sinner’s life: To be vain in mind (Eph. 4:17; cp. Eph. 2:11); and dark in understanding (Eph. 2:12; 4:18); alien to God’s life; ignorant of God; blind in heart (2Cor. 4:4); past feeling; lustful (Eph. 4:19; Gal. 5:19); unclean; greedy (Eph. 5:3; 2Cor. 6:10).

Grace

1Peter 1:9-12 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 

‘The end of your faith’ the Greek word telos meaning the end of a thing. It could also mean the consummation of being admitted or initiated into religion, marriage, etc. If this is what Peter has in mind it refers to believers being initiated into salvation by their faith (1:8-9). He could also have had in mind the end of salvation itself, which is at the end of a life of faith. 

‘Enquired’ [Greek: ekzeteo] to search out. They carefully and diligently sought and examined the truth of the things they were prophesying.

‘Grace that should come unto you’ they had salvation, grace, fillings, and gifts of the Spirit. It was the fullness of grace they predicted (John 1:16-17). Remember that the receiving of the fullness of grace is conditional.

God cannot give grace to men who disobey the gospel. If so, then God is under obligation to save all, even sinners who disobey if He saves even one (Rom. 2:11). God is under obligation to saints only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel (1John 1:7). He is not under obligation to sinners until they come to full obedience of the gospel. Grace teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now (Tit. 2:11-12). If people do not obey its teaching grace can go no further.

Anyone may: Receive grace in vain (2 Cor. 6:1); frustrate the grace of God in his life (Gal. 2:21); fall from it (Gal. 1:6-8; 5:4); fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15); turn it into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4); sin in spite of it (Rom. 6:1); continue or discontinue in it (Acts 13:43); minister it to others (1Pet. 4:10); grow or not grow in it (2Pet. 3:18); receive or reject it (John 3:16; Heb. 12:15; Jas. 4:6; Rev. 22:17).

‘Searching’ [Greek: ereunao] to search for; examine (1:11; John 5:39; 7:52; Rom. 8:27; 1Cor. 2:10; Rev. 2:23). They did not know the time of the sufferings of Christ or by whom, neither the glory to follow the sufferings.

‘Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven’ it was the new covenant – that is the New Testament that was established with Christ’s crucifixion, (Heb. 9:15-18) and its full blessings that the prophets foretold. The fullness of grace (John 1:16-17), the fullness of the Holy Spirit anointing upon believers (Luke 24:49; John 7:37-39; Acts 1:4-8), the full gifts and fruit of the Spirit (1Cor. 12:4-11; Gal. 5:22-23), and the complete redemptive acts and processes of which the law was a shadow (Heb. 10:1) were all predicted by the prophets in the Old Testament. The way into the holiest by the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:19), power and authority of every believer to do the works of Christ (John 14:12), and many other truths and experiences were unknown to the prophets. ‘Desire to look into’ angels are no doubt amazed at the wonderful plan of redemption and of the eternal exaltation of the redeemed. Even now they are being taught by the body of Christ the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:9-11). They observe saints constantly (1Cor. 4:9) and desire to look into the wonderful truths of the gospel.

Praise, Honour and Glory

1Peter 1:6-8 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perish, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory

‘Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season’ in which salvation you rejoice, but once in a while, it is needful for you to go through manifold temptations to test your faith that it be found genuine and thus be rewarded (1Pet. 1:6-7). Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them, proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:3-4, 12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7). A trial of any kind is not necessarily a temptation to sin and remember that God never tempts anyone to sin (Jas. 1:13) to test them.

‘Heaviness through manifold temptations’ caused grieve through many kinds of trials.

‘That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ’ this is the 2nd New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled.

‘Gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire’ – the fire only separates all the foreign and impure materials from gold. It loses nothing of its nature, weight, colour, or any other property. Gold has been kept in a state of fusion for months without the smallest change. Genuine faith also will be proved by trials.

‘Might be found unto praise and honour and glory’ through trials that can purify man from all impurities and sin, one should be in this condition – praise, honour and glory – at the coming of our Lord Jesus; not grumbling, complaining and busy with the cares of this life (Luke 21:34-36).

‘At the appearing of Jesus Christ’ at this time, it will manifest what rewards men will have in the eternal kingdom (Matt. 16:27; 25:21, 25:23).

‘Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ faith in Christ makes one a new creature and instils in him personal living confidence as strong as the faith of those who have seen Him and known Him personally (2Cor. 5:17-18; Rom. 5:5). This faith produces joy (1Pet. 1:8-9). To be strong in the Lord, we have to find our joy in Him alone, (Neh. 8:10; Rom. 15:13; 1Thess. 2:19) all else will disappoint and fail us.

Abundant Mercy

1Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fade not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

‘God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ God are both the Father and God of Jesus Christ. He is not Jesus Christ. It is clear in Scripture that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead.

‘Begotten us again’ the Greek word anagennao meaning to beget anew. It is used both times by Peter (1:3, 23). It certainly teaches begetting more than once. The word “again” proves this fact (1Pet. 1:3; John 3:3, 7; Gal. 4:19). Man was created in union with God and in God’s grace and favour. He fell from this position and has to be born again to get back into God’s grace (John 3:3, 7). After one is born again he is warned not to build again the things he once destroyed (Gal. 2:18); not to turn again to sin (Gal. 4:9); not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1); not to be overcome again with the pollutions of the world (2Pet. 2:20-22), and not to lay again the foundation of repentance and service to God (Heb. 6:1). If men do not heed these warnings and do these things again, he falls away and is in a backslidden condition (Rev. 3:15-19). There is nothing made but what can be revived, restored, recast, refinished, rebuilt, reanimated, refashioned, and remade be proper and skilled workmen. Therefore the Almighty God can restore us or ‘begotten us again.’

Peter is a good example, as he was once converted, confessing Jesus as the Son of God and the Christ, which brings the new birth (1Jn. 5:1; Matt. 16:16). He even had the power to preach and heal and had the Spirit in him (Matt. 10:1-20). Jesus predicted his backsliding and reconversion (Luke 22:31-34), proving that a converted man can and must be reconverted if he sins as Peter did in Matthew 26:69-75.

‘Lively hope by the resurrection’ the hope of living again by resurrection (John 14:2-3; 1Thess. 4:17).

‘To an inheritance incorruptible …’ the first New Testament prophecy in 1Peter that is unfulfilled. ‘Inheritance’ the Greek word kleronomia meaning a possession (1:4; Matt. 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; 20:14; Acts7:5; 20:32).  ‘Incorruptible’ the Greek word aphthartos meaning immortal.

‘Undefiled’ here we have the five-fold character and position of Jesus Christ: He is holy (Heb. 7:26; 1Pet. 2:22); harmless, the Greek word akakos meaning without evil.  He is undefiled meaning that He had no physical imperfection and nothing low, base, or unbecoming in His life and conduct. He kept Himself separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26). He lived a perfect life not being unequally yoked together with sinners in their sinful ways (2Cor. 6:14 – 7:1). He was made higher than the heavens. He was more exalted than angels and all other created beings of heaven (Heb. 7:26; Eph. 1:20-23; Php. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:22).

‘Kept’ the Greek word phroureo meaning garrison; guard; keep; defend. There are ten secrets given for the cure of worry in God’s Word: Permit the peace of God to garrison or keep your heart and mind through Jesus Christ (Php. 4:7). Renounce all worry; then by prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving, make all requests known to God (Php. 4:6; Jas. 4:7). Think on the right things (Php. 4:8). Keep your mind stayed on God (Isa. 26:3). Use the weapons of spiritual warfare (2Cor. 10:4-6). Put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18). Have faith in God (Matt. 6:25-34; 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24). Live and walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26; Rom. 6:14-23; 8:1-13). Do not cast away confidence (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:19-23, 35-39). Cast all your cares upon God (1Pet. 5:7).

‘Salvation’ – here the threefold salvation of the believer is explained: The believer now has salvation and is saved from all sin (Luke 19:9; Acts 4:12; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; 2Cor. 6:2; Eph. 1:14; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Jn. 1:9); the believer is being kept from sin as he walks in the light (Php. 2:12; 2Tim. 3:15; Tit. 2:11-12; Heb. 2:3; 6:9; 1Jn. 1:7); the believer will eventually be saved from all the fall (Rom. 13:11; 1Thess. 5:9; Heb. 5:9; 9:28; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13).

‘Ready to be revealed in the last time’ we see the future blessings of salvation throughout the Word of God: Redemption of the body (Rom. 8:23); redemption of all creatures (Rom. 8:19-24; Acts 13:47; Isa. 11:6-9); unforfeitable eternal life (Matt. 19:29; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Gal. 6:7-8); final defeat of satan (Isa. 24:21-22; 25:7-8; Rev. 12:10; 20:1-10); all rebellion put down and cancellation of the curse (1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 22:3); uniting of heaven and earth (Eph. 1:10); complete removal of sin, sickness, death, and all effects of rebellion (1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 21:3-5); renewal of the heavens and earth to a perfect state (Rom. 8:19-25; Heb. 1:10-12; 12:25-28; Rev. 21-22; 2Pet. 3:10-13); eternal continuation of natural people, animals, and all things as would have been if man had not sinned (Gen. 8:22; 9:12; Isa. 11:6-9; 65:20-25; Rom. 8:20-25); eternal kingdom of Christ and of God on earth (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 22:4-5).

Through Sanctification

1Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 

‘Peter’ he was one of the 12 apostles (1Pet. 1:1; Matt. 10:2); called Simon and Cephas (John 1:42); a native fisherman of Bethsaida (Matt. 4:18; John 1:44. Peter was a married man (Matt. 8:14; 1Cor. 9:5). He ministered primarily to Jews (Gal. 2:7) and was an elder among many others (1Pet. 5). Peter went east and wrote an epistle from Babylon. Nothing is given of his death other than what is given in John 21:18-19. The theme of this epistle is to exhort believers to stand true in all kinds of suffering, and to set forth the true grace of God (1Pet. 5:12).

‘An apostle of Jesus Christ’ the Greek word apostolos meaning a delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went.

There are twenty-four apostles recorded in the Word: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas Didymus [twin] (Matt. 10:3; John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6) Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). Lists of the twelve apostles are given in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Strangers’ the Greek word parepidemos. They were Jews of the dispersion (Jas. 1:1). They were the elect or converted Jews (1Pet. 1:2).

‘Pontus’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, originally part of Cappadocia, between the Black and Caspian Seas and south to Armenia (Acts 2:9). ‘Galatia’ a province in Asia Minor west of Cappadocia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Cappadocia’ a province east of Galatia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Asia’ in some places refers to the whole of Asia Minor, but here it no doubt means the province of Asia Minor with Ephesus as its capital. ‘Bithynia’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor south of the Dead Sea and west of Pontus (Acts 16:7).

‘Elect’ the Greek word eklektos meaning to be picked out, chosen. Four elects’ of God are mentioned: Christ (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:6); all Christians (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1; John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2Thess. 2:13; 2John 1:1, 13); Israel (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt. 24:21-31; Mark 13:22, 27; 1Pet. 1:2); and angels (1Tim. 5:21). Anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (Rom. 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

‘Foreknowledge of God the Father’ the Greek word prognosis meaning to have a perceiving beforehand. Here and in Acts 2:23 refers both to God seeing ahead that He would have to send a Saviour to redeem man from the fall (Rom. 8:29-30). No single individual is chosen, elected, foreknown, or predestined to be saved or lost without his personal choice and responsibility in the matter (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It would be cruel impartiality – an unjust regard for one and an unjust disregard for another – and not divine justice for one to be chosen by God to be saved and another to be damned. God offers grace to all alike. His invitations, promises, provision, and warnings of punishment are general. All people are invited to choose life and are warned of eternal punishment if they do not do so. It is inconsistent with man’s probation for God to elect some to be saved and some to be lost.

‘Sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ Three ways to become God’s elect: Through sanctification of the Spirit; through obedience to the gospel and through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. All three things take place at once – when we get salvation. This is plainly taught here and in 2Thessalonians 2:13. God has from the beginning chosen us to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and to believe in the truth (John 17:17). No man can receive salvation except through these two things. It is folly to claim salvation without sanctification and belief in the truth.

‘Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied’ we are constantly warned to be diligent that we may be found of Jesus Christ in peace, without spot, and blameless, and to beware that we, like the backsliders of 2Peter 2:1-22, who are being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from our own steadfastness and that we might grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Pet. 3:14, 17-18).

Peace Be to Thee

3John 1:5-14 Beloved, thou does faithfully whatsoever thou does to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shall do well: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, receives us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and you know that our record is true. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. 

‘Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church’ Gaius had taken care of the visiting ministers and also Christian strangers, and had done many works of charity (3Jn. 1:5-8).

‘Taking nothing of the Gentiles’ these ministers preached for Christ, not for personal gain or advantage. By all means, they showed themselves disinterested in income (3Jn. 1:7-8).

‘Diotrephes’ who this man was is unknown. Regarding character, he is known as being proud, ambitious, exclusive, malicious, inhospitable, despotic, and rebellious against apostolic authority (3Jn. 1:9-10).

‘I will remember his deeds which he does’ this is the only threat in John’s writings, except in Revelation. He had apostolic power and threatened to use it to bring judgment on this rebel, as Paul threatened the Corinthians (1Cor. 4:16-21).

‘Follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God; but he that does evil has not seen God’ do not follow this kind of man (3Jn. 1:9-11). Do good, for this, will be proof that you are of God and know Him.

‘I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face’ in both 2John and 3John, the apostle expressed his hope of seeing the ones to whom he wrote (2Jn. 1:12).

‘Peace be to thee’ John speaks the peace of Christ over his fellow-believers as given in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you.” Jesus left the disciples with His dying legacy – peace; not the kind the world gives. Men have peace societies, temples, and plans, but arm for war all the while. They killed the Prince of Peace (Acts 4:27) and ignore Him still, so they will have no peace until He comes to reign (Ps. 2:1-12; 1Thess. 5:3; 1Cor. 15:24-28).

No Greater Joy

3John 1:1-4 The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walks in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. 

‘Elder’ John was an elder in three ways: By title, being an apostle and a preaching elder; by seniority, both as a Christian and as an apostle. He is thought to have been the oldest of the apostles, to have had the most years of Christian experience and to have been the only one to die a natural death; by age, being about 90 years old at this writing.

‘Unto the well-beloved Gaius’ the second epistle of John to an individual (2Jn. 1:1). ‘Gaius’ it is not known whether this Gaius was the same mentioned in Acts 19:29; 20:4; Romans 16:23 and 1Corinthians 1:14, or not.

‘I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers’ when the soul prospers, that part which is the seat of the desires, feelings, passions, appetites, and emotions, one stays in health. The soul reflects whether or not the thoughts (originating from man’s spirit) have been captured to the obedience of Christ, or not (2Cor. 10:3-5; Jas. 1:13-16).

Three kinds of blessing that are God’s will: Material prosperity (3Jn. 1:2; Jos. 1:5-9; 1Sam. 2:7-8; 1Kin. 2:3-4; 1Chron. 29:12; Ezr. 8:22; Job 36:11; Ps. 1:1-3; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 15:7, 15:16; 2Cor. 9:6-8; Php. 4:19). Physical healing and health (3Jn. 1:2; Ex. 15:26; Ps. 91:1-16; 103:3; Isa. 53:4-5; 58:8; Matt. 8:17; 1Pet. 2:24; Jas. 5:14). Soul salvation (3Jn. 1:2; Matt. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-9; Heb. 7:25; 1Jn. 1:7, 9; Rev. 1:5).

If such blessings are the will of God for one man, they are for all men alike who will have faith for them, because there is no partiality in the gospel.

‘I have no greater joy’ John found joy in the one great thing of life, the greatest, in the testimony of those who have chosen eternal life. There is no greater joy.

‘Children walk in truth’ from this we gather that Gaius was a convert of John the apostle. Or, it could refer to Christians under John’s care, those who were his juniors in Christ and in age.

The Doctrine of Christ

2John 1:9-13 Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. 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 bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 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. 

‘Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son’ any person who sins and does not remain in the truth, doesn’t have God. He who does not sin and who remains in the truth has both the Father and the Son. This warns of the possibility of backsliding and losing rewards (2Jn. 1:8), as well as losing God and Christ.

‘If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house’ If any man poses as an apostle or Christian teacher and does not teach the true doctrine of Christ – the incarnation, the death, burial, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ – do not receive him or give him entertainment in your home. Do not even bid him Godspeed. If you do, you are a partaker [give approval (Rom. 1:32)] of his evil deeds and will be punished with him for the same sins (2Jn. 1:10-11).

‘Neither bid him God speed’ Scriptures warn against fellowship and friendship with non-believers: not to get counsel from the ungodly, or to follow in the same ways as sinners or workers of iniquity, or to sit with those who mock the Word of God, those who are vain or wicked (Ps. 1:1-6; 6:8; 26:4-5; 1Jn. 2:15-17) and not to go in with dissemblers [hypocrites]. Not to cast your lot with criminals and sinners when they entice you to follow in their wicked ways (Pro. 1:10-15). We are warned to stay away from foolish and angry people and not to be friends with them (Pro. 9:6; 14:17; 22:24); to stay away from backslidden Christians and those who walk disorderly (Matt. 18:15-17; 2 Thess. 3:6; 2Jn. 1:9-11) and those that cause divisions and offences (Rom. 16:17). We cannot listen to false teachers’ teachings and think we will afterwards understand God’s Word at all (1Tim. 4:1-2; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 2: 16-17; 2Jn. 1:10). We cannot have company with those who do not obey God’s Word (2Thess. 3:14-15); be in business, friendship or fellowship with unbelievers or those who live in unrighteousness and darkness (2Cor. 6:14-18). We cannot keep company or eat with fornicators, covetous, heady and high-minded people, idolaters, railers, drunkard, or extortioners (1Cor. 5:9-11). Stay away from those who are lovers of themselves; boasters; proud, unthankful, unholy people; blasphemers; disobedient to parents; those without natural affection; trucebreakers; false accusers; incontinent; fierce people, despisers of those who are good traitors, those who love pleasure more than God and the hypocrites – those who have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (2Tim. 3:2-5).

‘The children of thy elect sister greet thee.’ This Scripture must be understood as all other greetings: The followers of Christ greet you our sister (can’t say brother here, even though she is clearly part of the body of Christ which is represented by the male term ‘brethren’ (Heb. 2:11; 1Pet. 2:17; 5:9).

Walking in Truth

2John 1:4-8 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 

‘I found of thy children walking in truth’ testimony to the faith of the believers in her congregation. ‘As we have received a commandment from the Father’ one of the New Testament commandments to all believers: to walk in truth.

‘That we love one another’ an emphasis in all John’s writings. He uses the word “love” 62 times compared to only 116 times by all other writers of the New Testament. He was after all the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). He was not loved more than others by Christ, but he accepted His love and chose to call himself accordingly. God does not have respect for persons, with regards to their looks, races, classes and sexes (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 3:28; Jas. 2:1-4).

‘This is love, that we walk after his commandments’ keeping the commandments of the New Testament is proof of genuine love. No amount of show, speech or deeds is a replacement for obedience.

‘Deceivers’ the Greek word planos meaning “deceiver” (1:7; Matt. 27:63; 2Cor. 6:8) and “seducing” (1Tim. 4:1). Seducing spirits and deceivers denied the incarnation (1Jn. 4:1-6). Today, they are denying the physical, fleshly resurrection of Jesus as well as the incarnation. The Greek here reads, “Jesus Christ coming in the flesh,” proving that it refers to His physical resurrection and His coming again to earth in the flesh. He will come in the same human body that was resurrected and taken to heaven (Zech. 13:6; Acts 1:11; Php. 3:21; 1Cor. 15:1-23).

‘Look to youselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward’ here Christians are warned to meet require conditions of blessing in order not to lose rewards (1Cor. 3:11-15) as well as losing the truth that was revealed unto us (2Tim. 2:16-17).