To remain in the teaching of Jesus

“If anybody does not remain in the teaching of Christ, he does not have God with him: only those who remain in what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.”

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2 Jn 1,4-9

It has given me great joy to find that children of yours have been living the life of truth as we were commanded by the Father. And now I am asking you – dear lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but only the one which we have had from the beginning – that we should love one another. To love is to live according to his commandments: this is the commandment which you have heard since the beginning, to live a life of love. There are many deceivers at large in the world, refusing to acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in human nature. They are the Deceiver; they are the Antichrist. Watch yourselves, or all our work will be lost and you will forfeit your full reward. If anybody does not remain in the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he does not have God with him: only those who remain in what he taught can have the Father and the Son with them.

“Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me”, the Lord tells us in another passage of the Bible (Jn 14:21). So it is not in the first place an overwhelming feeling of love, although this is a beautiful gift, which we should not despise, but live in the truth. John only wants to remind us of what the church already knows and it is the Holy Spirit speaking through him, they have heard it from the beginning. We remember that it is the Holy Spirit who reminds us of all that Jesus said and did (cf. Jn 14:26).

Also we as Catholics know quite well what the Lord wants from us and it is extremely beneficial when we are reminded of the beauty of the Catholic faith through clear sermons, lectures or similar words. It is like clear water from the throne of the Lamb (cf. Rev 22:1), even if we have heard it all before. If it is communicated to us in the right way, the soul breathes again, it feels at home in the truth. It becomes confused and overshadowed, however, when these truths are no longer clearly stated, when contradictions and uncertainties create clouds of mist, when errors are spread, when one no longer thinks from God but from man.

We know the summary of the commandments which we are to obey. To love God and your neighbour as yourself (cf. Mk 12:30-31). Therefore, these two commandments are the guidelines for a life in truth.

Now the love of God has revealed itself in a special way in the coming of His Son. To respond to the love of Jesus with all one’s heart, to remain in His Word and to act accordingly, means to live in true love and thus to cooperate in the Kingdom of God, which the Lord has planned for all people. Whoever does this is light in this world enslaved by sin and error (cf. Mt 5:14).

It is therefore no wonder that seducers want to come and obscure this truth of the coming of the Son of God into this world. This can happen in different ways. One can completely deny the coming of the Lord, one can place him among the prophets and wisdom teachers (cf. Mt 16:13-14), one can depersonalise him esoterically, one can only regard him as a benefactor of humanity, as someone in whose name one should be called to work for the political liberation of oppressed people, and much more. All erroneous conceptions have one thing in common: they do not properly recognize the love of the Father who sent his Son for redemption (cf. 1 Jn 4:14), and so they miss the great gift of faith.

Behind this spirit, which blocks the right knowledge of the Messiah, stands the seducer and Antichrist, as John lets us know, and then warns us that we should not loose what we have worked for, that we should remain in the right teaching.

Here is now an important conclusion to be drawn. To true love, to living in truth, belongs the right teaching. This cannot be said often enough, especially in this day and age. The text tells us that he who does not remain in the teaching does not have God.

Hence the admonition to all believers: Hold fast to the right teaching, no matter who says otherwise. The Antichrist will want to relativize and reinterpret the teaching of the Gospel. He will and has already found willing helpers in the church. At first it may hardly be visible and perceptible, but then the poison of false teaching will want to penetrate the body of Christ more and more.

That is why today’s admonition of the apostle is of great importance: Let us remain in the teaching of Christ, then we will have the Father and the Son and live in love.