Monday, July 18, 2005

Because Some Are Trying to Deceive You

These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. ( 1 John 2:26)
John offers another reason for writing: Because some are trying to deceive you. This goes along with his earlier reason: Because you know the truth.Paul, like John, also warns us that there is a spirit of deception at work:
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age had blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
There are those who try to bring something that sounds very good, but ultimately denies that Jesus is the Son of God who came in the flesh. The beginning stages of Gnosticism, in John’s day, represents such a teaching. It presented Jesus as divine — which is true — but they denied His humanity.

Ironically, there are many philosophers of religion today who celebrate the Gnostic view as a sophisticated form of Christianity. The so-called Jesus Seminar, of recent years, represents such a proclivity. For example, they wished to promote the gnostic Gospel of Thomas as the “Fifth Gospel,” as if it had some sort of canonical or sem-canonical status. It does not and never has. There are various other groups about who try to separate the “Christ of faith” from the “Jesus of history,” seeking to drive a wedge between the divinity and humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That denies the very basis of our salvation. The truth is that Jesus Christ is able to redeem us and reconcile us to God precisely because He is both fully human as well as fully divine.

There are many other forms of error that center on the nature of Jesus Christ. But John declares, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23).

It is never enough to know the truth simply as a proposition. We must know the truth as a person, the person of Jesus Christ, who said of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

So the testimony John brings is one the comes from personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ:
That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life—this lie was manifested, and we have see, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you. (1 John 1:1-3)
This is that testimony John preached all along, the same testimony his Christian readers heard and believed from the beginning of their faith. It was not just a proposition they received, but a person. It was not a religion they had entered into, but a relationship. They were born from above by the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit not only birthed them, but actually lived in them.
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. (1 John 2:24-26)
It is this abiding relationship that will aid them in discerning deception and standing strong in the truth. For it comes with the anointing of the Holy Spirit:
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you, but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all thing, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. (1 John 2:27)
This is what Jesus promised His disciples on the night of the “Last Supper.”
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)
It is very important to recognize that there are those who would deceive us. For there is no life in a lie, only dead religion. But if you have received the Lord Jesus Christ, you have entered into a vibrant, personal relationship with God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — full of light and life. Don’t let it be obscured by deceptions, but let the Holy Spirit take the things of Jesus — the things that come from the Father — and reveal them to you. Then you will be filled with a joy that remains.