Yesterday we warned about the enemy seeking to devour us with the lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life. Today, we see that one of the ways he does this is by twisting God’s truth, pushing the lust of our eyes to accept “secret” revelations that is “not of the Father but is of the world”. “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which 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 they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (1 John 2:18-19)
The mark of an antichrist is finally breaking away from New Testament Christianity. When they do, they will insist that they are the true mainstream of Christian truth and that we are living in the backwaters of Christian doctrine. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us” (v 19a). John puts this very plainly. The mark of genuineness is continuity in the truth, continuance in true faith–it is abiding in God’s revealed truth in His Word.
John means that the antichrists (Heretics) will invariably cut themselves off from true Christ followers (us). He’s made it clear in the context of this whole letter, who true believers are: Those who love the Word of God and who possess the Spirit of God, and those who seek to obey the Word in the power of the Spirit. The emphasis he has been making all along is on those who share the life of Christ by the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God.
There are those (Heretics) who purposely use portions of Scripture to emasculate God’s essential truth, omitting the parts they do not like. They’ll teach greasy grace saying that God accepts everyone because He loves them. But there is only one way to enter the kingdom of heaven, and that’s through faith in Jesus Christ, who becomes both our Lord (our Master) and Savior. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt 7:13-14) Heretics twist God’s Word purposely, just as Satan did with Eve.
Heretics aren’t to be confused with those who are utterly ignorant of the Scriptures and perhaps have very peculiar viewpoints about them, but they are quite willing to learn. Get them into the Scriptures. The Word of God has a marvelous ability to correct error and to channel interests into vital matters (Heb 4:12). They will soon be brought into line with the great, marvelous, glorious, all-pervasive truth of God, these tremendous themes that grip the hearts of men and women wherever they are set forth in power.
Through the centuries there have been cyclical outbreaks of heresy arising within Christian circles to twist, distort, and pervert the truth. We see the confluence of these in our own day. We will be disturbed and confused unless we view them in the light of the revelation of the truth of God. What a wonder this Word is, which has been given to us that we might understand what is happening to us, understand the world in which we live, and thus be made to know what is going on.
Jesus said, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matt 24:4-8)
Because of the truth in God’s Word, we can realize that history is utterly in the control of God and is moving exactly the way He planned. Our own individual lives can be brought into line with this to produce not that which is transient and ephemeral, but to be engaged in that which abides, that which will end up at last fulfilling the purpose of God in history, moving to the last consummation that He has in view. I heartily recommend reading Unveiling the End Times in Our Time: The Triumph of the Lamb in Revelation to study Revelation and see how God is very much in control.
Father, my heart is moved anew as I see what is happening in my own day in the blazing light of these amazing Scriptures. God, grant that I might remain true to Your Word.
Source: On Heresy by Ray Steadman