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3 John 1:11-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
11 Beloved one, 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. 12 Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
DEMETRIUS: THE MAN AT THE DOOR 3 John 11–14
John begins this portion with the kindly address, Dear friend, then makes a statement reminiscent of the first letter (1 John 3:7, 10) when he says, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God (v. 11). John is once again severe when it comes to walking our Christian talk. There are many arguments about the security of the Christian who continues to sin. However, nobody quotes John for such doctrine. John is clear: doing wrong violates one’s connection with God. That alone is enough reason to quickly address sin with confession and the cleansing blood of Christ. Jesus came to defeat the works and the power of Satan, manifested by sin in our lives. We are called to walk in the light of God’s truth and love, ceasing a lifestyle of sin.
John quotes Jesus as saying, “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:29). Jesus is the just judge. He knows a person’s heart and desire to obey Him or to refuse Him. Jesus admonished us not to play God by judging others (Matt. 7:1–5). God sees and knows what nobody else can. On my worst days, I would still rather face God than people when it comes to my eternal destiny. The sovereignty of God is our greatest security. His judgments are right and true (Ps. 19:9). All of that said, we must remember that John’s purpose for writing is so that we “will not sin” (1 John 2:1).
So, who is this Demetrius, who is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself (v. 12)? Is he another leader in the congregation? Is he one of the traveling teachers or missionaries who needs a place to stay? We cannot know for sure, but it seems most likely that he is among those to whom John is urging Gaius to show hospitality. He is safe and good. John speaks well of him and reassures Gaius, you know that our testimony is true.
Many churches seem to have a Diotrephes; every church needs a Gaius; and every church needs to cultivate as many like Demetrius as possible.
Again, John, the elder, has more to say. He did also in his much longer Gospel (John 21:25). However, he would rather say it to them personally. Secondhand conversation can often become second-rate communication. He wants to personally say what is on his mind and heart. In spite of all that is happening, or because of it, he seeks to bestow peace to [them] (v. 13). To conclude his letter, John writes, The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name. What a delightful touch to ask that Gaius greet the folks, for John, by name. Everyone feels a more personal touch when they are greeted by name. Our names are important to God. May the grace of God flow through our lives to a host of people—who all have names.