The catchword of today’s age seems to be tolerance, a state in which everyone is entitled not just to their own opinions but also to a full celebration of their views and differences. According to this perspective, the one so-called sin is to say that any belief or idea is wrong; to do so is decried as “intolerant” and “unloving.”
No doubt our “tolerant” society would have no tolerance for today’s reading in 2 John. There we are told in no uncertain terms that not all views are correct. Indeed, Scripture tells us that anyone who does not “acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh . . . is the deceiver and the antichrist” (v. 7). In fact, such a denial is dangerous and must be avoided at all costs.
Why? Is 2 John just being intolerant of those who happen to have a different view? Absolutely not, because denying the Incarnation is not just a matter of personal opinion; the truth of the Incarnation is central to faith and salvation. Those who reject the Incarnation are essentially rejecting God Himself. Scripture warns us: Anyone who “does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God” (v. 9). Our path to the Father is through the Incarnate Son; to reject the Son is to reject the Father and all hope of salvation.
Notice also that this is not just about private belief, but is a matter for the whole community. Particularly when ancient Christians used to gather for worship in homes, to “take them into your house or welcome” (v. 10) those who deny Christ would be to embrace fundamental error as part of the deep fellowship of the faith. In other words, correct faith about the person of Christ is the essential glue that holds together genuine Christian fellowship.