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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: The Elect Lady—2 John

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The Apostle John, like his Master, came down to the weak and feeble. Jesus never despised the little children; He took them up in His arms and blessed them, saying, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." He never despised weak women, but allowed them to have their place amongst His followers. We find the Apostle John, in his later years, writing "unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth."

It is a family letter, written to the mother and the children, the head of this godly household having, probably, passed away; and "the elder" (John), whom this dear woman of God must have recognised as her "elder," writes to her "for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever."

What a lesson on letter‐writing! He does not write to her for her sake, nor for her children's sake; he does not write because it is pleasant to write a letter, but "for the truth's sake which dwelleth in us." With all the authority of one who was called to bless in the name of the Lord (Deu 10:8-9), he said: "Grace be with you, mercy and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love."

John's greeting was not formal; he gives it as a messenger in the Lord's message. And, doubtless, when the elect lady opened her letter she would be conscious that grace, mercy, and peace flowed in upon her soul. God teach us so to write that our letters may bring blessing with them, because they are written in the spirit of waiting upon God.

"I rejoice greatly," says the writer, "that I found of thy children walking in the truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father." Nothing could bring greater joy to a Christian mother's heart than this testimony from the aged Apostle. If her children had gained Government positions, had passed with honours in the Universities, or gained any advantage for this world, it could never have so thrilled her heart with joy as to know that such a judge as this Apostle could speak of her children as walking in the truth.

And yet she needed to be taught, and her children also, and the same lesson which was the centre of all John's teaching was passed on by him to his correspondent. It was the new commandment "that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after His commandments." None can over‐learn this lesson; we have just as much of Christ in us as we have of love. The only allowable debt for a Christian is to love one another (Rom 13:8), and this debt is never fully paid. Just because this godly family walked in truth, they needed to be reminded to obey yet further. "For," says the Apostle, "many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh."

Love to the brethren and obedience to God are the safeguards from the deceiver and the Antichrist, and thus the Apostle bids her to abide in the doctrine of Christ, and to beware of those who bring not this doctrine. "Look to yourselves," he says, "that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward." What is a full reward if it is not the promise to the overcomers in Laodices (Rev 3:21)? "To him that overcometh will I give to sit down with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne." There is a possibility even for the most faithful to come short of the reward. Paul said: "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1Cr 9:27.) It is the most godly who need the most to take heed, because they are, more than others, the mark for the enemy.

The old Apostle is hoping soon to visit the elect lady, and passes on a message of greeting from her elect sister's children. Probably he was known in both households as the beloved guest of the mothers and the children, and always left a blessing behind him for the household when he sojourned with them. This glimpse into the social life of the old Apostle shows us how fully his life was the Lord's, how his public and private life was all one, how he could have said with Paul, "To me to live is Christ." (Phl 1:21.)

Who knows how soon after this he was called by persecution into the island of Patmos, there to abide in the purpose of God's will, that he might receive and write the Book of Revelation (Rev 1:1-2, 1:9)?

Who knows how much the prayers and the fellowship of this chosen woman, and others who were chosen in Christ, may have strengthened the faith of the blessed exile? And who knows how He, who is waiting until His Bride hath made herself ready (Rev 19:7), is watching many a quiet woman who in her life as a true helpmeet is both a type and a chosen member of that Bride? Let us learn to say with Mary, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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