1The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth,
2for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:
3Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
John the apostle and author of 1 John and John describes himself as the elder (whether because of his role in the church or because of his age or both) writing to the chosen lady and her children. This is likely an actual woman with her actual children. These are a special group of people whom he says he loves in all truth as do all those who love the truth. They must have had a great testimony and reputation to be this special to the church as a whole. All that they do is for the sake of the truth, which is Christ and His Word. The truth endures forever and will be with us forever. Christ will always be with us and His Word endures forever. John affirms that grace, peace, and love are indeed with us and will continue to be with us because of the nature of God the Father and of His Son Jesus Christ, Who was Himself the truth and full of grace and love. The message of the gospel is always an issue of truth and it ought always to be presented in love.
4I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.
John is very encouraged to hear that at least some of the children of this lady are walking in truth, which is what John’s first epistle was all about. Some of this lady’s children are walking as believers should walk.
5Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
John lovingly reminds the lady to remember the commandment which Christ gave and which was from the beginning (in line with God’s will and the intention of Scripture from the start) which was to love one another and keep the commandments of God. It is one thing to know we are to do this and another to actually do it.
7For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
8Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.
As John said in his first epistle, many deceivers and false prophets are already in the world. This is the spirit of antichrist which can be identified by the fact that it denies that Jesus is God and that He came in the likeness of human flesh. Thus James exhorts the lady to be on guard so that she doesn’t get deceived by some of the false teaching going around. She has worked hard to raise some godly children, so John does not want to see any compromises with the world, especially with matters of doctrine, as such could compromise their ability to receive their full reward. We are to be faithful in all of life and for the whole of life so that we can get a full reward on the day of Christ. This should be great incentive to be faithful.
9Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
Sometimes Christians stray off course, as it appears some of her children have done. John obviously wants them to come in line with obedience to the truth. Yet there are those who go too far and actually deny that Jesus is God and that He came in the flesh. If such is the case, they were never saved in the first place (1 John 2:18-20). There is a great difference between doubting and denouncing Christ. If a person consistently and persistently as a way of life does not remain in the teaching of God, John says that they are not of God and never were. It is those who practice righteousness and abide in the truth that actually have the Son of God and the Father.
10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting;
11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
If any person comes and greets this lady and they bring with them a false teaching denying Christ or giving license to sin, she is not to receive them into her house or even give them a greeting. Even greeting such a person is participating in their evil deeds. This does not mean that we cannot speak with them or even dialogue with them on the front porch. However, we are not to receive them gladly or with joy, we are not to greet them with a pleasant salutation wishing them well, nor are we to receive them into our homes. False teachers are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). We don’t let wolves near sheep that we care about, especially when there are children present as in this case because children are more vulnerable.
12Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.
13The children of your chosen sister greet you.
John says that there are many other things that he wishes to say, but he would rather do it in person and face to face than with pen and paper. He would rather have the opportunity of experiencing the joy of Christian fellowship and interacting with this family of brothers and sisters. He realized that he would bring them more joy if he came in person, a sign of true Christian love. He also passes on greetings from the lady’s sister who is also a follower of Christ, chosen by God.