“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”
John now demonstrates the gravity of defecting to the false teachers (cf. verse 8). Christian courtesy and hospitality do not extend to false teachers. It is a grave issue to tamper with false teachers.
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.
The word “transgresses” should be translated “goes onward.” This is a sarcastic allusion to Gnostic false teachers who were trying to bring the church into their fold. These false teachers thought that their teaching went beyond the traditional view of Christ.
The transgressor here is a Christian who defects from the pure doctrine of Christ to a supposedly higher view of truth. Gnostics claimed to be advanced thinkers for the enlightened, but John warns against teaching that does not stay within the structure of apostolic teaching.
He who abides in the doctrine of Christ
The term “abides” indicates that John speaks of vital belief in the truth. “Abides” indicates that this person is a Christian. Note that in the previous verse John warns against loss of reward (v. 8).
True belief always revolves around a proper view of Christ. Dead orthodoxy cannot produce vital fellowship with God. It is one thing for the truth to abide in the believer and it is another for the believer to remain in the truth.
1 Jn 2: 22 “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
has both the Father and the Son
If we confess the Son, we possess the Father. If we deny the Son, we renounce the Father. We cannot deny Christ and believe in the Father at the same time. That is why non-Christian religions cannot be true. It is not true that there are many roads to heaven, for either Jesus is who He claimed to be or He is a faker. To advance beyond Christ is to reject Christ.
Those who embrace Jesus Christ embrace the Father as well. They have dynamic relationship to both.
Jn 14: 21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”
The argument here is not that mere orthodoxy leads to dynamic fellowship but that genuine fellowship issues from right doctrine.
Those who go beyond the bounds of Scripture are not of God.
Whenever some teacher comes along and professes some special new revelation, be wary of him for he is a faker. Groups that claim that the Bible is not fully sufficient to tell us all that we know about God are in error. The test of truth is always the Word of God and the person of Christ.
The exhortation to deal definitely with false teachers appears strange in a day when compromise, accommodation and doctrinal confusion reign supreme. Much of truth today is watered down, diluted and adulterated.