1 John 2:18-29 | Resisting the antichrist spirit
18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
- John describes the antichrist as both a singular thing but also multiple people – so we can say that it is a singular thing which affects or is manifested by multiple people
- But what is the antichrist? – well verse 22 below shows us that whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ, such a person is the antichrist…which is a lot of people, even the majority of the world!
- ‘last hour’ – this is a phrase speaking of the current ‘church’ age we are in. Whilst this has lasted 2000+ years so far we must not lose the sense of urgency that this phrase depicts. We know it is the last hour because the spirit of the antichrist has been working against the church
19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
- A trait of the antichrist spirit is as an alternative to Christ and Christianity, it is not totally opposite in its values but challenges Christ as an alternative. So it can look like Christianity and hide amongst it for a while but at some stage it must come out and be separate
- This also speaks of the supposed believer ‘going out from the church’, but in doing so showing that they never really belonged in the first place, i.e. once saved always saved, if truly saved!
- True discipleship is not something you can step in and out of, we either belong or we don’t
20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
- The anointing is the Holy Spirit
- John is saying this in contrast to what he has just said about those going out and not truly belonging to the church – conversely, we who are saved remain in the church and belong, and we know this because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
- As John says later in 3:24 “And this is how we know that he lives in us. We know it by the Spirit he gave us”
- So the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (like an anointing of oil in/on our bodies) gives us confidence that we belong to God
- But it is not only the anointing of the Holy Spirit which gives us confidence, but that we know the truth as well. John is writing not to evangelise these people, but to reaffirm their assurance of salvation, as he confirms at the end (5:13)
22Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
- The fact that Jesus is the Christ is no longer a mystery which is shrouded in secrecy, but displayed in plain sight and has been proclaimed to the whole world. Therefore, it can be said that anyone who denies this truth is a liar, because they resist what is proclaimed to be true
- Whoever rejects Christ, rejects God himself, since Christ is the image of God made manifest for humanity to know and draw near to Him.
- Many might believe in the idea of God or even accept the Father, but will not accept the Son
- I think this is because we like to think in vague principles and ideas, but when those principles become a hard reality we don’t like the details and the restrictions it brings.
- So mankind will generally accept the idea of a loving Father God, but when that is manifested through Christ the Son which tells us that we are a sinful people, fallen short of the glory of God, needing to repent and accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, and obey his commands…people aren’t so up for that!
24As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25And this is what he promised us—eternal life. 26I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.
- We need to hold fast to the truth that we received from the beginning, this truth is like a ‘living truth’ which dwells within us, through the Holy Spirit.
- And my conviction of the truth will keep me in the Son and in the Father, and secure for me God’s promise of eternal life
- We must hold fast to the gospel truth as there are people who will try and lead us astray. Everything about the spirit and people of the antichrist want us deny the truth about Christ
27As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
- The Holy Spirit is our teacher. Ultimately we only need the Holy Spirit and the Bible, since the Spirit guides is into all truth (John 16:13)
- John here is not discounting the role of teachers/pastors/elders, but just highlighting the crucial role of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. Put simply, a person without the anointing of the Holy Spirit cannot learn anything about God, even if under the teaching of most gifted pastors and teachers.
- It is the Holy Spirit which softens the hearts, unblocks the ears and teaches us all truth
28And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. 29If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
- We need to press in, persevere and keep walking the way of faith, know that if we do we can be confident and unashamed before Him
- Right standing leads to right living, which is what John speaks of next in Chapter 3 (this verse may be better placed with the start of Ch. 3)