Recognizing the Antichrist
John 2: 18, tells us the antichrist will come upon the earth at God’s appointed time. In the meantime, many lesser antichrists have been walking in our midst; spouting false teaching, lying, and denying the true faith. John encourages the Ecclesia, (God’s faithful) to recognize these troublemakers that infest our local churches; to expose them and drive them out of our congregations. A false christ is easily identified by their words and their actions. They will claim that Jesus is not the Son of the Living God or that He is not the true Messiah that came to give His life as a sacrifice for all sinners. They may also deny the resurrection of Christ and His Incarnation. Keep in mind that the Incarnation is critical to biblical orthodoxy; as it highlights the importance of being assured of true Salvation. Without the Incarnation, Jesus would be just another person and not the deity that He truly is. When false teachers take up residence within a church body, they begin teaching Christians to question their faith, and doubting their need for Salvation.
Here’s a good test to determine the authenticity of a believer’s faith: 1) They believe that the Incarnation of Christ is essential. Those who deny that Jesus is the Son of God does not have Christ in their hearts; but rather, they have the spirit of the antichrist within them. 2) True believers walk-in-the-light and not in darkness. No one is perfect, but a believers’ heart is consistent on the belief and adherence to the Gospel. 3) True believers love God more than they love the world… likewise, they love their brothers and sisters, even when they don’t like them as much.
In 1 John 2: 28, we are encouraged to ‘abide-in-Christ’, and practice personal righteousness. We are to embrace an Apostolic doctrine and ‘right living’ as instructed in God’s Word. As committed Christians, when we discover any sin in our lives, we are to immediately admit to it and seek Christ for His forgiveness. This is the best prescription for maintaining a proper relationship with God and Christ. And just as children will resemble their parents, true Believers will strive to emulate and display the image of Jesus in their lives. Believers should understand that our ‘works alone’, will not get us on the path to heaven. Works can certainly be evidence of Salvation, but without faith and righteousness in Christ alone, we are missing the most important component within the relationship. The belief that a person’s works will get them into heaven is just not correct. Over the centuries, many have adopted this philosophy, only to discover that they make a poor choice and were greatly disappointed. Apostasy will always be present within the church.
Fortunately, the Lord knows how to recognize His children. So, as Timothy tells us, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity’. I would add; God’s plan will continue to move forward, regardless of what man decides to do. Our position as believers must always be to have faith in God and Christ and to walk-in-the-Spirit, and to walk in holiness just as God is holy.