Part 36 – Your Heavenly Reward
The apostle John has written this brief Letter to either a lady friend and her Christian children, or to a church and its members, but in either case John is concerned because of the influence some Gnostic and Docetist heretics have had on the true believers. John has pointed out that he is confident that the Christians have been chosen by the Lord God, and have the indwelling Spirit of Christ forever as their eternal possession, and that as they are obediently walking in God's way and by expressing His supernatural agape love, they are all given proof that they belong now and forever to the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ the King and Savior of our souls.
He has warned them that antichrists - anyone who does not believe, accept, or trusts that Jesus Christ is indeed one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God - are among them and they are to stay as far away from them as possible! In verses eight and nine John specifically speaks to the danger of listening to and being influenced unduly to these false teachers: They may lose ground in their spiritual walk and maturity. John is certainly not implying that any of the true believers will lose their salvation, but rather by listening to the false teachers their walk with the Lord will be hindered, slowed down, interfered with. It would be like having too many programs opened at one time on your computer or cell phone. You can still use it, but it will slow down the speed or efficiency of the device. Or it would be like trying to swim with your shoes and blue jeans on - you can swim, but those unnecessary weights are going to hinder your progress.
As I opened with the baseball illustration: Each team has specific ground rules for their particular field that the visiting team must be aware of, but the fundamental rules of the game of baseball are never changed, for if they were, baseball would no longer be baseball. Individual churches may have different ground rules when a visiting team (person) comes to their field (church service) such as style of worship, baptism, how often they receive the Lord's Supper, but the moment the fundamental beliefs of the church - which are based on the teachings of Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Apostles as found in the Scripture, then you have changed Christianity into something that it isn't. And we see that happening today with churches altering their beliefs about the nature of Christ, hell, salvation, marriage, sexuality, universalism, plurality, etc. The very things that John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude were warning the churches of back in the first century are the very things that the Christian Church is facing today, so our charge is to stay true to God's Word and the doctrines of grace, and not allow the culture, politicians and popular opinion to change the unchanging and eternal Word of Truth as found in God's Word.