“…this is the last hour…” I John 2:18
The first century church lived under the hope of Christ’s imminent return. John hoped to prepare the church for that event by warning Believers of deceivers who would try to lead them astray. He called the deceivers “antichrists”. John reminded those who would read this letter of Jesus’ teaching about those who would come preaching a different “gospel”… and doing it in Jesus’ name! (Read Matthew 24:3-8; Mark 13:3-8; Luke 21:7-11) John described those antichrists as having personal familiarity with Jesus when he stated, “This is how we know it is the last hour. They 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.” (v.’s 18-19)
The antichrists had just enough knowledge of the sacred texts and of Jesus’ teachings to contort those teachings for their own selfish purposes. It still happens today. People twist scripture to justify sin, prejudice, and wickedness of all sorts… all in the name of Christianity… their brand of Christian practice.
John, however, had confidence in the truth he and his audience had been exposed to: the very words of Christ Himself, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Me.” John reminded his readers they knew that truth… The Truth (v.20), even declaring they had a holy anointing from God Himself. He reasoned that no lie could come from the truth, and posed the question, “Who is the liar?” His diatribe provided an immediate answer: the one who denies Jesus as the Christ. The liar is the antichrist who rejects Jesus claim as The Resurrection and The Life. (Read John 11:24-26) John asserted that anyone who denied the Son had no relationship with the Father. (v.23)
The readers were exhorted to remember Jesus’ teachings, for, in doing so, the Believer would be able to recognize the lies by those who were seeking to preach a message much different from Jesus’. (v.’s 24-25) These words still ring true today. We all seek to know the truths we need to combat the issues we face today; which is why investing one’s time and mind in God’s Word is so important. John promised the readers that God’s anointing would guide them in truth and urged them to continue in Jesus’ way. His Word still provides us guidance for the issues we seek to understand; the struggles with which we wrestle; and to understand when deception is lurking near.
John concluded this portion of his letter with these words:
“And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at His coming.” (v.28)
We can depend on God to lead us in truth, and just as John urged the first century Christians to remain in Him, so I plead with you today to remain in Him. You can trust Him with your life, your future, your eternity.
Abide. In. Him.