In medicine, as in so many other areas of life, prevention is usually better than cure. That’s why doctors sometimes prescribe antibiotics before an operation – it’s much easier than treating an infection picked up after one.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been reading 1 John. It definitely goes in the ‘cure’ category. Liked a skilled spiritual doctor, John has been treating a church which has picked up a severe infection of anti-gospel teaching. It’s taken five chapters of teaching, encouraging, warning and correcting, all with the aim of restoring the church to spiritual health and confidence in their relationship with God.
But what might it take to prevent such problems arising in the first place? 2 John seems to be John’s attempt to pre-empt the arrival of the same teaching he has been opposing in 1 John. It shows us the teaching we must embrace and the attitude we must adopt to prevent anti-gospel teaching gaining a foothold in the church. And since prevention is much easier than cure, it’s one of the shortest books in the whole Bible.