We have read already of the heretics John has had to deal with in his first letter: not only do they deny that Jesus was fully incarnated as a human when first He came to live on Earth, but that also they deny what Christians believe, that He will come a second time 'in the flesh'. The great Martin Luther stated unequivocally: ''He ate, drank, slept, walked; He knew hunger and thirst and sweat; He talked, He toiled, He prayed...so that there was no difference between Him and other men, save only this, that He was God and had no sin.'' Jesus had to become what we are to make us what He is. Beneath the words of John we can hear the claims of the false teachers: They claimed to be developing Christianity as advanced thinkers and possessing open and adventurous minds; but, although John is not condemning progressive thinking- and I would say that my thoughts about God and my love for Him have developed and advanced over the years-he is saying that Jesus Christ must be the measure of all thinking- Christianity must be anchored to the historical figure of He who is the centre of the Universe. What we can clearly see is that the false teachers would visit an area, be invited to speak at a fellowship and then expect to be received into a home to be fed and watered and provided with a bed. They would gradually disseminate their theology until the fellowship was either split or began to follow a different belief than the one the Apostles had propagated. You can see other warnings about these men and their behaviour in Paul's letters. The behaviour John is encouraging the believers to exhibit runs counter to Christian principles, but it was vital to cut the mould out before it caught hold. John recognises that a few words in person is far better and more effective than many letters. In today's world of emails and texts, we would do well to adhere to that principle.
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