1 John 2:18-23 - Many antichrists have come
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Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 1 John 2: 18.
The first class I taught as a new member of faculty at a theological college was Doctrine of Christ. I prepared the course with great expectation, assuming that the doctrine of Christ as both divine and human, as set out in the Scriptures and affirmed in the ancient Creeds of the Church would be fully accepted by the students. I was dismayed to find that some opposed the doctrine and argued that if Christ were God, then the whole world would have collapsed when he died on the cross. Therefore, they argued, Jesus could not be divine. After prayer and consultation with colleagues, I attempted to show from the Scriptures that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. But no amount of proof would persuade one of them otherwise and the student left the class still holding that belief.
In this section, John explains that the church has met a similar problem. There are members who deny that Jesus is the Christ (v.22) and who have left the fellowship still holding that belief. John explains that the church should not be surprised by this as it is the “last hour.”
John uses the expression “the hour” several times in his Gospel (for example, John 2:4; 4:21; 5:28; 17:3). It refers to a new stage in God’s redemptive purposes for the world. Here, the “last hour” is the time between the ascension of Christ and his second coming, which Jesus said would bring unparalleled difficulties for believers (Mark 13:19).
A characteristic of this time is the multiplication of false teachings regarding the person of Jesus Christ (Mark 13:21-22). John alone in the New Testament calls them “antichrists.” They earn this designation because they are home grown. They have sprung up within the community of those living in fellowship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ. Therefore, John states that those who profess to be abiding in Christ but teach a different Christ from who the apostles taught (1 John 1: 1-3) are antichrists.
These false teachers, John explains, are not “of us” (v.19). They are not “of the Father” (1 John 2:16) and they prove this by their divisive nature. That they “went out” shows that they were never in true fellowship with the Father in Jesus Christ.
Who then is a true follower of Jesus Christ? John shows that it is those who are “anointed by the Holy One” (v.20). Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the “anointed one.” Those who believe the truth about who he is (1 John 1:3) and what he has done (1 John 1: 7; 2:1-2), and who live in obedience and love (1 John 2:3-11) show that they have the true knowledge of God. They know the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is the truth. Denying that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one of God is the lie (v.21-22). The false teachers denied the divine nature of Jesus Christ and in so doing, they denied both the “Father and the Son” (v.22). God exists in Trinity. Those who deny that Jesus is the Son, show that they do not know the Father and therefore, they do not have fellowship with him (v.23).
What we believe about Jesus Christ matters. Calvin says, “As the light of the sun comes to us by its rays, so the knowledge of God has been communicated through Christ” (p.197). Let us examine our own beliefs about Jesus Christ. Is he truly God? If he is anything less, let us put this right today.
“Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…” (John 17:1)
Heavenly Father, we thank you today for the knowledge of the truth revealed through your anointing that Jesus Christ is your Son. We acknowledge that we cannot know you except through him.
Forgive us for when we have made Jesus any less than who he is, the true Son of God. We acknowledge that it is only in Him and through him that we can have fellowship with you. This is to your glory.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Pray with us today's prayer request:
In Goma diocese, DR Congo, there are four portable Bible training schools giving Bible training and evangelism training. Thank God that despite great challenges these went ahead. Please continue to pray that each evangelist and minister can have their own Bible. Some Bibles have recently been given out, but the list keeps growing.
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