We don’t write letters the same anymore but in the apostle’s time, it provided communication over the distance. Although never adequate, it served a purpose that still ministers to us centuries later. When John wrote his second letter, he ensured each part carried the depths of his heart whether in the greeting, the body of the letter or its closing. His letter gave a promise in the greeting, solid teaching in the body and expressed his heart in its conclusion.
In the Greeting
In the greeting there is a promise. First he refers to himself as the elder and then addresses the elect or chosen lady and her children. I like to think he is referring to the bride of Christ spoken of in Revelation, “the bride, the Lamb’s wife ,” or the Spirit and the bride who extend the grand invitation “Come! And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” for he loves her in truth as do all who know the truth which dwells within the believer forever.
There is a promise next. In his greeting he writes, “Grace, mercy and peace,” but not just as a greeting but as a promise, “will be with you, from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” To receive the things we don’t deserve, to not receive the things we do deserve and to know a peace we will never understand, are promised in truth and love.
The meat of his letter, good solid teaching, comes in the body. He had received encouraging news that her children followed the truth. To further strengthen them he admonishes, “Love one another,” “This is love that we walk according to His commandments.”
Then he warns them, “Many deceivers have gone out into the world.” They deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. You worked hard he tells them, coming to faith in Jesus in perilous times took hard work physically and spiritually. John desired that they remain faithful and not lose their reward. Stay in the doctrine of Christ, let it be where you live. If anyone comes to you with a different doctrine don’t take part in it by allowing them even into your home, he writes.
In the conclusion, John’s expresses his heart to see them. Letters just aren’t good enough he wants to see them face to face. It is fulfillment of joy for both he and those he instructs. He has so much to share with them.
His letter gave a promise in the greeting, solid teaching in the body and expressed his heart in its conclusion.