Summary: Christians must know the truth in order to guard and proclaim the truth. Do we?
“I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 Now 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. 6 And 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. 7 For 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. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone 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. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
The spirit of Anti-Christ has always been in the world. When we hear the term as students of the Bible, usually the first thing that comes to our mind is the person the Bible calls ‘Antichrist’, who will rise up in the time of the Great Tribulation to make a false peace with Israel and so forth.
But the serious student of the Scriptures is also aware that this person will only be the embodiment of the spirit that has been at work in the world, using deceived and deceiving men and women of unbelief to propagate the Satanic lies concerning God and Christ in order to undermine and destroy, if it were possible, the church and her true message.
John talks about this spirit in his first letter and equates the term ‘antichrist’ with the emergence of the last days and denial of the truth concerning who Jesus is.
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” 1 Jn 2:18
Now, if John was warning the church at this early stage that the spirit of antichrist was at work in ‘many’ even then, and if he taught that by the presence of these deceivers his readers were to recognize that the world was in its last days, then how much more now, two thousand years later, should we of the church be watching for this same spirit to be at work and recognizing the signs before us?
“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” 1 Jn 2:22
“…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” 1 Jn 4:3
So when we come to this letter that is designated the second letter of John to the church, we find him issuing the same warning concerning the deceivers who in the spirit of antichrist had gone out to deceive, and the same encouragements to hold fast to the truth.
Satan’s fundamental deception from the Garden of Eden until now is that God is not truly concerned and God is not going to keep His promises. That is the very foundation of every lie the enemy has fostered on mankind.
The fact of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world to die for sin and His resurrection and ascension is the eternal and undeniable proof that God does indeed care very much and that He is well able to keep all His promises concerning the redemption and perseverance of His elect.
It should come as no surprise to us therefore, that every cult, at the foundation of its teaching, denies the deity of Jesus, and every anti-Christian claim has at its base the denial of man’s need for salvation and that this one Person was the incarnate God who became Man in order to provide that salvation.
DETECTION OF DECEIVERS
The Scriptural imperative for the true church then, is that we should guard against error and stand firm for truth. John, in the early verses of this letter, has equated love for God and for one another with obedience and the keeping of His commandments. Therefore in order to walk in this obedience to the truth we must be able to recognize error and mark these deceivers when they come among us.