In the next section of John’s letter he warns the believers about the antichrists who started out among them as followers but went out and chose the world, who didn’t declare Jesus as Christ. They are an example of what he spoke about in the previous paragraphs, lovers of the world and haters of the brothers. Verses 18-19 say,
“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.19 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.”
John began by reminding the believers that it is the last hour. You may wonder about references to the last hour and the last days. You may even question that it has been nearly 2,000 years and they got the time wrong. God didn’t get it wrong. The last hour and the last days mean that God’s plan is in its final stage before judgment. When Jesus ascended after His crucifixion and resurrection the new covenant entered the last phase. Satan had a major blow when Jesus rose from the dead. He is fighting hard now to keep people out of the Kingdom of God and to keep believers inefficient. We have to remember that this short life is it when it comes to chances to enter into a relationship with God. Satan knows it. John reminds us.
While it matters that we recognize the antichrist, it also matters that we recognize all those who are working against Christ especially the ones disguised by false light and call themselves Christian. We can’t only focus on the one antichrist. We have to realize there are many proclaiming lies. When they go out and do what they do, it becomes clear to Christians that they are not of God nor us. It isn’t clear to the world though. They identify the hate of false religion with us. We have to stand out and walk together in love. We don’t have to guess at who is a true follower and who is not. We don’t have to speculate about whether a teaching is from the One True Living God. Verses 20-25 tell us why.
“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 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.22 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. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 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. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
God chose you and set you aside for Himself. He gave you all knowledge of the truth. Therefore you are able to discern the truth from the lies. You have the Light and you are called to be the light. The light reveals the hidden things, the lies, and the sin. You can perceive and distinguish the ones who glorify themselves and the ones who glorify Christ. The father of lies can make a lie sound good. He uses flowery words to make it sound to the world that he is upholding goodness and they think he is espousing Jesus. But we know the truth. We believed the Gospel, we know the Gospel, and the Gospel doesn’t change. If they are not proclaiming Jesus as Christ, our Savior, the Son of God, then they are against Christ and with Satan. They cannot have the Holy Spirit within them. They are not children of the Father. Do not follow them. Do not even listen to their teachings.
Those antichrists are always wanting to teach a “new truth” and a “new way.” The truth doesn’t change. God taught you the truth. His Spirit is within you and He is your teacher. He recognizes truth. He discerns lies. So since He is in you, you do too. Verses 26-27 put it this way,
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.”
When God anointed or chose you and separated you for His Kingdom, He gave you everything you needed to follow Him. He equipped you. He equipped His followers. He gave you the Truth. He forgave your sins. He gave you the scriptures. He gave you His Word. He gifted you. He gave you brothers and sisters to build each other up. You can trust in Him.
In speaking of the scripture, Paul wrote to Timothy and said,
“while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:13-17).
And the writer of Hebrews gave his benediction to the church reminding them that God brought them from the old life to the new and He would continue to do so. Hebrews 13:20-21 says,
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
You have God. You are chosen by the Father, forgiven by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. You do not need anything more. There are no secret rituals, new rules, anything else. Live in Christ, like Christ as only the Holy Spirit can enable you to do. Live forgiven. Live in pursuit of Love, remembering you have obtained it. We are in the last hour. That hour may continue for 3,000 more years or 3 days. But if you live as the anointed Follower of Christ you are, then you have nothing to be ashamed of. When Jesus comes the antichrists will be revealed as children of Satan and they will be condemned. Verses 28-29 encourage us.
“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.”
Abide in Christ. Come and stay in His rest. Not sweating under the heavy, difficult, and impossible burden of law and works, but living freely in Love. Accept Jesus’ righteousness is yours and live your life with the evidence of that love borne into action.