1 John 2:18-19 ESV
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
The word “antichrist” means to be “against Christ,” to be opposed and hostile to him and to who he is and to what he is about and to what he stands for. Yet, it isn’t the name of “Jesus” or the name “Christ” that people are so much against, at least here in America, but it is the character of Christ and who he is and what he stands for (and against) that have people opposing him. And this includes many people professing faith in him, too.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8).
And “in the flesh” is not just a status based on no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For it has to do with how one lives, and how one conducts his life day in and day out. For if you live according to the flesh you will die in your sins, but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then you will live. For it is all who are led by the Spirit of God who are the children of God, not all who merely profess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:12-14).
So, when this says that “they went out from us,” this is not talking about people leaving the institutional church. Please get this! The institutional church, which is largely of church denominations, and which largely is incorporated as a business under the state, and which is largely marketing “the church” to the world, is not the church. And neither is the church the building they meet in called “church.” All that is of man, not of God.
The true church is the body of Christ comprised of genuine followers of Jesus Christ who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to God and to his righteousness, in practice, and who are not living in deliberate and habitual sin in rebellion against the Lord. We are God’s house, his building, not buildings built by human hands. And we are the living stones making up that building, and Jesus is our cornerstone, and God is the builder.
Therefore, when this says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us,” this is speaking of people who were gathering together with the body of Christ (with true followers of Christ) but who were not of genuine faith in Jesus. They may have made professions of faith in Christ but they were not walking in obedience to the Lord in the forsaking of their sins.
Thus they were “antichrist,” because they were still living according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit. Their minds were still set on the flesh and not on the Spirit, and so they were hostile to God, and they could not please God for they would not obey God’s law (New Covenant). And so when they deserted the fellowship of the believers (followers of Christ), it became plain that they were not really part of the body of Christ (true saints of God).
1 John 2:20-23 ESV
“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.”
Now, this is obviously not speaking to everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ. Just because you make a profession of faith in Christ does not mean necessarily that you are of Christ, for you could be antichrist. For we read here in 1 John 2:3-4, “By this we know that we have come to know him, IF WE KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
And then we read in 1 John 3:4-10 that no one who keeps on sinning (in practice) has either seen the Lord or known him. For whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as God is righteous. But whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil. For no one born of God makes a practice of sinning. And whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (cf. Romans 6&8; Galatians 5:16-21).
So, who is the liar? He is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. And denying Christ goes far beyond just making a verbal denial of him, but people deny Christ by not submitting to him as Lord, by refusing to die with him to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. They deny him when they claim that nothing is required of them by God and that they don’t have to repent of their sins and obey the Lord. Obedience to God is required!
1 John 2:24-25 ESV
“Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
Now, this is assuming that what they heard from the beginning was the truth. Not everyone is hearing the truth because not many are teaching the truth (the whole counsel of God) these days, at least they aren’t here in America. So, what is the truth that they should have heard? First, they should not have been taught that God is okay with them continuing in their sinful practices, greedy to practice every king of impurity.
That is not the way you should have learned Christ!— “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (see Ephesians 4:17-24; cf. Luke 9:23-26).
And this promise that God made to his people of eternal life with him is contingent on us abiding in Christ and his words abiding (living, continuing, remaining) in us (see John 15). And it is contingent on us repenting of our sins (leaving our lives of sin behind us) and on us following our Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant) in walks of holiness and righteousness, in the power of God, to the glory and praise of God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; Ac 26:18]
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed
Isaac Watts/ Ralph E. Hudson
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away
’Tis all that I can do.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
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