Isn't it neat to see how John ends this short letter? He starts out sharing his heart and affection for the recipients and he closes it with affection and love. This is a good model for us when we need to correct or rebuke someone. Start off with affection, share the truth and the warnings, and end with affection with affirmation in the person. I have heard it said before that in order to be effective anytime a rebuke is made, the proportion should be 90% affirmation and 10% rebuke.
The New Application Commentary of II John says that II John "was meant to warn....and was motivated by love." Akin says in his commentary that "When we make a skillful pleasing defense of what we believe in and then back it up with good works, we create a wonderful message. We need to argue forcefully and candidly while demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ to the world."
Some conclusions we can draw from this short "postcard" epistle is that:
- Loving God means obeying His commandments, not just saying the right words or looking for "feelings".
- There are many deceivers in the world and we need to "watch out" for anything that distorts the message of the gospel.
- Be aware that one of the main deceptions in the world today is that there is no absolute truth and every person is free to decide what is right for himself/herself.
- The opposition in this letter is not about modes of baptism, structure of the Sunday morning service, beliefs about charismatic gifts, etc. but is an attack on the theological basis of our Jesus Christ and our salvation.
- We must walk in love and truth.