First John, chapter 2, part 9
Jan 15, 2018
1 John 2:26 says,
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.
Who was trying to deceive them? What was the issue? What was the lie? Obviously, it was the “lie” coming from the “liar” in 1 John 2:22, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist…” In other words, it was the antichrist lie which claimed to have the Father, but yet denied the Son, Jesus Christ. This was the fundamental lie presented in the New Testament story in the conflict between Jesus and the chief priests. The result of that lie was that the usurpers refused to recognize the King and killed Him instead.
The fact that Christ’s death was prophesied everywhere in Scripture, especially in the sacrifices, does not lessen the offence. The necessity of Christ’s death in the plan of salvation does not give anyone the right to support the usurpers as Judas did. Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He is the rightful Heir of the throne are not required to believe the lie of the antichrist.
One of the purposes of John’s letter was to present the truth so that believers, then and now, would not be deceived by “those who are trying to deceive you.” So let us not be deceived. Let us not believe that Absalom was the rightful heir to the throne of David, and neither should we believe that the chief priests are the rightful heirs to the same throne. Let us be neither Ahithophel nor Judas, giving aid and comfort to those whom John calls antichrist.
At the same time, let us not react to antichrist in an ungodly way, as the church has done so often, especially in past centuries. The church should support justice without taking on a war mentality. Declarations of war have a way of justifying injustice and even murder. We are to promote justice from a heart of love. This is the spirit of the law, if men truly understand the law. There is no room for hatred, except for a legal hatred, which is judicial and not emotionally based. An impartial judicial process focuses upon discerning lies from truth.
The Anointing Reveals Truth
1 John 2:27 continues,
27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Once again, John refers to the promise of the Holy Spirit, whose purpose was not merely to empower men to perform miracles, or to speak in tongues, but to impart truth. Jesus told His disciples about this ahead of time as He contemplated His crucifixion. John 14:16, 17 says,
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see [theoreo, “discern”] Him or know [ginosko, (legally) “recognize”] Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
Jesus said that those who were unable to discern who He is (i.e., that He is the Christ) cannot receive the Spirit of truth, because such people do not discern Him or recognize Him for who He is. In this case the term ginosko is used in its legal sense. It is the same as when a government recognizes another nation by setting up diplomatic relations with those nations.
So also the chief priests recognized Jesus as a man, but not as the rightful Heir to the throne of David. The anointing of the Spirit of truth is given to those who believe and support Jesus in His claim to the throne. The antichrists need not apply.
Jesus said again John 14:26,
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Hence, the prime evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit is TRUTH, not tongues. Tongues may indeed accompany the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but we should understand that tongues and prophecy speak forth messages of TRUTH, whether others understand it or not. Often men get so enamored by the spiritual gift that they lose sight of the actual message being conveyed. The purpose of both tongues and prophecy is to impart truth.
So we read in John’s letter that the anointing by the Spirit of truth gives believers the ability to withstand the lie of the antichrist. So if we are able to understand the nature of the antichrist lie, then this is evidence of the anointing within us. Keep in mind also that Jesus’ final instructions in John 14-17 came in the context of Judas’ departure from the room when he went out into the night (darkness) to betray Jesus (John 13:21, 26, 30).
Abiding in Christ
John remembered Jesus’ words in John 14 on the evening in which He was betrayed. Judas alone left the room before hearing these words. After Judas went out, Jesus told them about the Spirit of truth, and then in John 15 He explained how to abide in Him. Jesus said in John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you.” Again, in John 15:7, Jesus said,
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
The evidence of abiding in Christ is that His words abide in you. So we read also in 1 John 2:28,
28 And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.
Thus, John makes the link between the anointing and abiding in Him. The anointing is from the Spirit of truth, who “will teach you all things” (John 14:26). Likewise, “His anointing teaches you about all things” (1 John 2:27). So if Jesus’ words “abide in you,” then you also are abiding in Him, even as branches are connected to the vine (John 15:5).
It is self-evident that antichrists do not abide in Christ, for no branch can reject the vine and yet abide in it at the same time. Ahithophel did not abide with David, nor did Judas abide in Jesus. At the same time, David loved Ahithophel, and Jesus loved Judas. David loved Absalom and grieved over his death (2 Samuel 19:2, 4), and Jesus wept over Jerusalem (John 11:35).
We too have a ministry of reconciliation, for our calling is not as Ministers of War. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19,
18 Now all these are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word [message] of reconciliation.
Paul makes it clear that the opposing side is still at war with Christ, but that Christ is not at war with them. Christ has taken the initiative in suing for peace, not waiting for them to make the first move—even though He was the victim of injustice. Hence, we ought to forsake the war mentality and become ambassadors of reconciliation.
Having said that, we also must know the truth and support Jesus Christ’s claim to the throne. This cannot be compromised in our zeal to be ambassadors of reconciliation. Reconciliation does not mean that we must adopt the lie that keeps them in bondage, nor should we agree with darkness that keeps them in bondage to sin. We must maintain “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
If we abide in Christ in the manner that John describes, then we will have confidence and not shame at His coming.
1 John 2:29 concludes,
29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born [gennao, “begotten”] of Him.
The NASB translation (above) includes a footnote at the word “born,” to inform us that the word means “begotten.” That is certainly true, but it makes one wonder why they did not simply translate it correctly in the first place. Why did they find it necessary to correct their own translation? This is very strange, but at least they recognize the truth in their footnote.
This verse introduces us to John’s next topic in the third chapter of his letter. Here he speaks of righteousness and how we too may be righteous. It is by being begotten of the Father.
This is part 12 of a series titled "Studies in First John." To view all parts, click the link below.