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Just going through the motion

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. Everyone speaks well of Demetrius—even the truth itself. And we also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true. 3 John 1:11-12 CSB


From yesterday, we read Diotrephes’ actions on how they were evil, actively in disobedience to Jesus Christ’ commands and were hurting the church body, as well as the potential gospel opportunities for the unbelievers. John tells Gaius, “Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” John is telling Gaius essentially that Diotrephes and others that act that way are not to be imitated in behavior. As we have covered from 1 and 2 John, false teachers claimed to be part of the church, and yet, through their actions, revealed that they did not truly follow the Lord. Diotrephes seemed to be imitating the actions of these false teachers. On the other hand, John shares the news about another believer, Demetrius and how “everyone speaks well” of him, and his life reflected the gospel “truth itself.” It can be speculated, then, that John was encouraging Gaius to encourage and take care of Demetrius, who was thought to have been a traveling missionary. Not only did the church speak well of him, but the apostles “also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.” For believers, in these interactions, we can observe two distinct individuals doing polar opposite things. John states the truth simply that if you are an imitator of evil “has not seen God,” or have not had a personal relationship with God, while one who does good is of God. John, in his first epistle, provides the readers a distinguishing difference between a child of God and who is not. “This is how God’s children and the devil’s children become obvious. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother or sister” (1 John 3:10). Obedience to the Lord and being faithful to His commands stems out of the love that one has for Him. Without that relational aspect, however, it is very unlikely that one can be obedient to God; just “going through the motion” of claiming to be a believer.

Blessings,

Isaac De Guzman


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