Beware of ‘Antichrist’!
Scripture reading for December 19th: 1st John 1-5
John, the Apostle, wrote this letter to the church to counter some false teachers called “gnostics” who were saying that Jesus was just a ‘spirit’. These false teachers were telling church people that it did not matter what one did with his body because our spirit was all that mattered. But Jesus Christ did come in a human body lived in obedience to the Father. He taught us to live by grace through faith. When we break God’s law with our bodies, that is sin and we must confess and repent. (1st John 1:8-9) If we say we have no sin, we are living in deception, just like the false teachers.
We do not live in a dual world where we can separate the actions of our spirits and bodies. This popular teaching was drawing away a number of Christ’s followers. The problem was that it was taking them to Hell! John called the false teachers “antichrist”. (1st John 2:16)
The church evidently knew about “the Antichrist” that was to come in the last days. This person would be a world ruler who would deceive many with false signs and wonders. (2nd Thessalonians 2:8-11) Paul described him as the “man of lawlessness”. John further stated that many “antichrists” had already gone out into the world at the time of his writing. These false teachers had come from within the church. They left the church and drew a following of people who were deceived by their lies and loose living.
“Antichrist” is a term that literally means “one set over against Christ”. In our language today we would likely use “counterfeit” to describe them. They used scripture to justify their doctrines. They often used the name of Jesus Christ but lived in rebellion to what Jesus actually taught and stood for. They were legalistic and manipulative and lacked the love of the Lord. These types are still around today!
The best remedy against deception is to know the real thing and be filled with the Holy Spirit. John told his readers that they had a real anointing that would teach them all things. (1st John 2:20, 27) The Holy Spirit would keep them from deception. The One who lived in them was greater that the deceiver in the world! (1st John 4:4)