Wednesday in the Sixth Week of Easter

1 John 2:18-29

The Word and the Spirit

We sometimes wonder how a person knows.  I mean, what if a person who claims to have the Spirit says something that the rest of us just aren’t sure about.  John deals with just this matter in this part of his letter.

He first refers to the coming of the antichrist, but then moves to the fact that many antichrists are already in the world.  They may even have been a part of the Church at one time, but their going out from us is proof that they were never really of us.  He encourages us that we should not despair when this happens.  Why?  Because we have an anointing.  What is this anointing?  The Holy Spirit, no doubt.  He is the Holy Spirit who guides Christians into the truth, so that we may know truth from error.

But that leads to the question of how we know if someone possesses the Spirit or not.  Or to put it another way: What is our standard for knowing whether or not what someone says is Spirit-led?  And here John gives us the answer.  He tells us that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ is of the antichrist.  Now you might say, “Well, that’s pretty broad.  I mean there are plenty of people who claim to believe that Jesus is the Christ.  Is that the only test we have as to whether or not what someone says is of the truth?”  No, we have further tests, and here John points the way.  What John is referring to is that teaching which the Church has always taught, “What you heard from the beginning.”  And when we speak of what the Church has taught from the beginning, we mean the everlasting gospel expounded in the Holy Scriptures.  It is this that is supposed to abide within us.  Armed with the Sacred Scriptures and the Church’s historic understanding of their meaning, we can confidently discern truth from error.

I do wish to point out one thing more of great importance.  John writes, “No one who denies the Son has the Father” and “Whoever confesses the Son has the Father, also.”  It is through the Son that we have and know the Father.  There is no saving knowledge of the Father without the Son.  One may know that there is a God from beholding the order in the universe, but one will not know who that God is.  That requires saving faith, which by definition is reserved for the believer only.  It is also obvious that we are not worshiping the same God as that of any other religion, political correctness notwithstanding.  We are Christians because we have been called into a saving relationship with God through Christ Jesus our Lord, who is the only way to the Father (John 14:6).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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