Who is Jesus Christ? There are so many answers to that question, and I guess the human race has been preoccupied with this question since the Lord came in the first place. But, we learn today that how we answer this question is a great deal more important than we may realize!
Look at our Lesson today in 2 John 1:1-13:
The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us for ever:
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward. Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son. If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; for he who greets him shares his wicked work.
Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink, but I hope to come to see you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.
This is the entire “book” (better to say “Epistle”) of 2nd John, and it turns out to be a letter to a “lady” and her “children.” Many have concluded that St. John is actually referring to the Church of a particular area and the congregation. So, that would mean that the “elect sister” he refers to at the end of this letter is a church also, probably the Church at Ephesus where John was at the time.
But notice St. John’s warning in this letter. Again, John, known as the Apostle of Love because of his emphasis on love in all of his writings, does the same here. And he uses strong language when he writes that he begs the Church to remember the commandment we have had since the beginning: Love one another.
St. John goes on to insist that when we love one another as we should:
- Insulate ourselves from wrong theology, specifically wrong beliefs about Who Jesus is! In fact he says that anyone who abandons the “doctrine of Christ” that is the consistent understanding of Who Jesus really is preserved in the Church, actually becomes an “antichrist.” And just what identity of Jesus is John referring to? Simply this: Jesus Christ has come in the Flesh. In other words, the theology, the belief in the Incarnation.
- Preserve and promote the consistent teaching of the Church regarding the The Lord’s Identity; that teaching that says that Jesus Christ is God in the Flesh, born of a Virgin, lived a sinless life, died a real death on the Cross, buried in a real tomb, and physically resurrected, seen by His disciples and others alive after His crucifixion, taught the disciples after His resurrection, ascended in His flesh, His resurrected physical body to the right hand of the Father, and Who will come again in that same physical body a second time to gather His Body, the Church to Himself and cause the general resurrection of the dead of all of humanity.
Today, what do you believe about Jesus Christ? The reality is you will never understand the Church’s wisdom in seriously practicing Great Lent without this foundational teaching!Truth be told, anyone can see what you believe by the way you live. So, I guess the better question is what does your way of life say about Who you believe Jesus Christ is? The answer determines whether you are Orthodox on Purpose or not!