"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. 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 9-11). What then is the doctrine of Christ? It is the revealed truth concerning the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, whom the Father sent into the world. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This is the doctrine of Christ. Anyone who does not hold the doctrine of Christ that He is absolutely God, one with the Father come into the world, hath not God. He is without God and hope in the world. He is an Anti-christ. "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of Anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John iv:2-3). Such a denier of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ is no christian at all and all fellowship even to the greeting must be denied to him. This seems severe and intolerant. But it is not if we consider what the denial of the Person of our holy and blessed Lord means. God grant unto us, who hold the doctrine of Christ, a divine jealousy for His honor and glory, manifested by separation from all who in any way deny the doctrine upon which all Christianity rests.
But how blessed to faith to see in the first Epistle of John the doctrine of Christ revealed and the blessings and comforts brought forth, which are for those who abide in this doctrine. In the Gospel of John the beloved disciple writes by the Holy Spirit about the Son of God, how He came from the Father and was in the world and how He left the world to go back to the Father. The Son of God is also the theme of the Holy Spirit in the first Epistle of John. "Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ" (i:3). This fellowship means that we share the Father's thoughts about His Son and to enjoy with the Son His own blessed and eternal relationship with the Father. In the measure our faith enters into the doctrine of Christ in that measure we shall have deeper fellowship with the Father and His Son. Is your cry, dear reader, for more reality in this fellowship? There is one way only which leads to this. It is an increase in the knowledge of the Son of God and as you abide there, you have the Father and the Son.
And now we shall call to our remembrance other passages in the first Epistle of John in which our blessed Lord as the Son of God is mentioned. They are sweet and precious to faith and if read in the Spirit they will bring the joy, the blessing, the peace and the comfort of the doctrine of Christ to our hearts.
"The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (i:7). That precious blood, His own blood, has cleansed us once and for all. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil" (iii:8). "And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments (which are: believing on Him and loving one another) dwelleth in Him and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us" (iii:23-24). "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son into the world to be the propitiation for our sins." "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (iv:9-11). "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him" (iv:14-16). "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (v:5) "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave to His Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (v:9-12). "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (v:13-14). "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (v:20).
May our faith lay hold anew of these simple yet deep and precious revelations. They are the doctrine of Christ. Into this we must enter constantly and manifest in our lives the fruits of this doctrine, love and righteousness. The increasing rejection of the doctrine of Christ demands the increased appreciation of that doctrine. The more the enemy attacks the Person of Christ, the more the Holy Spirit demands of us, who belong to Christ, that we exalt Him. Everything in the present time seems to be aimed at the setting aside of the doctrine upon which our Hope rests. Higher Criticism, the evil doctrines, which reject the eternal punishment of the wicked, the spurious gospels, ethical teachings and every other false doctrine strikes at the blessed Person of our Lord. The shadow of the Anti-christ is cast in our days. Let us heed God's Word. Let us be separated from those who deny Christ or we are partakers of their evil deeds. The path of the true believer becomes narrower. It must be so. But Christ becomes more precious, more real to our souls.
What awful times are coming upon this age according to God's Word! With the rejection of the doctrine of Christ this age sides completely with Satan and that wonderful being is both blinding his victims and using them for his own sinister purposes. The blindness is fearful. It will be worse before long. The rush into complete apostasy and from there into the delusion with the lying wonders and on into the darkness forever will come next. Let us praise God for the doctrine of Christ, which is our salvation, and may God give us faith and courage to walk according to that doctrine. What day of joy awaits us, when we shall see him as He is and know the depth of the Love of God by being like Him!