The Good News - Home
By David A. DePra
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)
"Hereby know you." Note that: "Here is how you will know the Spirit of God." John is, in this passage, giving us a TEST FOR TRUTH. He is telling us how we can know what is of the Spirit of God, and what is of the spirit of antichrist. You would think that such a test for Truth would catch our attention. But you rarely hear this passage quoted at all in Christian teaching. Instead it is classified as applying only to the first century heresy of Gnosticism.
Gnosticism had infiltrated first century Christianity. The Gnostic heresy stated that the entire material world, including flesh and blood human beings, was evil. Thus, God could have nothing to do with the material world, or with the flesh and blood human beings that lived in it. Once this error invaded the church, it meant that Jesus Christ was not actually God become a flesh and blood man He just appeared to be a man. And it likewise meant that Jesus does not today come to dwell in believers no -- for He could never have anything to do with flesh and blood humanity.
Gnosticism was a flat-out denial of, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." It was therefore a denial of the very nature of Christianity itself. Thus, John sets the record straight. The Holy Spirit will always confess that Jesus is come in the flesh. The spirit of antichrist will NOT preach this antichrist will preach something else as a substitute. Antichrist will, in effect, present a false Christianity, based on something other than the reality of, "Christ in you."
This passage is part of the inspired Word of God. Thus, despite the fact that it did have a certain specific application and purpose for the day in which it was written, God inspired and preserved it for the entire church age. There is a spiritual principle being revealed in this passage that applies universally for all time.
Christianity is, "Christ in us," or, if you prefer, "us in Christ. John is stating that the Spirit of God is always going to confess reveal, teach, and unfold yes, the fact that Christ is in us. But even more importantly, the Holy Spirit is going to confess the Christ who is in us. The work of the Spirit of God the purpose for which the Spirit of God is given is to reveal Christ to us, and IN US. This is what John is getting at: The Holy Spirit will always confess JESUS IS COME to dwell in us. Antichrist will preach most anything else as a substitute.
The centrality and importance of this Truth ought to be apparent from the passage itself. John says, "Here is how you will know the Spirit of God." All things can be tested by whether Jesus is being confessed as abiding in the believer, and whether the Jesus who abides in the believer is being revealed to the believer. That is the work of the Spirit of God, and the Truth that John is stating. In short, all things are to be tested by the Truth Himself, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Is Come in the Flesh
Gnosticism was one of the first heresies to do major damage to the church. In direct fashion, Gnosticism denied that Jesus Christ DID come into this world as a flesh and blood human being. But once that is denied, then everything that is based upon it is denied. And the fact is, only if Jesus was God become man can He today dwell in man AS God. Only if Jesus Christ became a flesh and blood human being, lived, died, was raised, and ascended, is it possible that He IS COME today to abide in us by His Spirit.
Christianity is based upon who Jesus is, and what He did. Thus, once who Jesus is, and what He did, is distorted, Christianity itself is distorted. This is why John does not say that this test for Truth has only to do with the historical fact that Jesus Christ DID come in the flesh. No. That is the foundation. But John speaks of what is built upon that foundation in giving this test for Truth. John knows that the Holy Spirit will always confess that, "Jesus DID come in the flesh." But in this epistle, he says that the Holy Spirit will always confess that, "Jesus IS come in the flesh."
This phrase, "Jesus IS come in the flesh," is different than saying, "Jesus DID come in the flesh." When John wrote, "Jesus IS come," he did not use the PAST tense. Rather, he used the perfect participle. This indicates a past event having existing results. In other words, everything John says is based upon the fact that Jesus DID come in the flesh that is the past event. But the test for Truth that he is giving accentuates the EXISTING results of that past event. What are those existing results? That, "Jesus IS come in the flesh," today Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit of God, comes to dwell in flesh and blood human beings who receive Him.
John is saying that the Holy Spirit will always confess based upon the past finished work of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit will always confess and reveal the PRESENT reality of Christ in us. Christ in us is the present result of the past redemptive work of Christ that He finished as God become man.
"Jesus is come in the flesh," is nothing short of a description of Christianity. It is, "Christ in us (see Col. 1:27)," stated in other terms. "Jesus is come in the flesh," is a summary of what constitutes the new creation in Christ Jesus. Thus, John is talking here about the very definition of what Christianity really is. His test for Truth is just that important.
A, "confession" that is, a TRUE confession -- is what you present as the Truth. It is your testimony of the Truth; your conveyance of Truth, regardless of how you convey it. Thus, when John says that the Holy Spirit will always confess that, "Jesus is come in the flesh," he is not limiting God to the spoken Word, the written Word, or really, to any means. He is simply saying, "This is what the Spirit of God will always do: Confess the PRESENT reality of, "Jesus IS come in the flesh."
Thus, this confession is really the REVELATION of Jesus Christ. To the believer. Yes. But also IN the believer. Absolutely. The confession of the Holy Spirit is always going to be unto the unfolding and revelation OF Jesus to us.
John says that they Holy Spirit will always confess reveal that, "Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh." But WHOSE flesh? MY flesh. And YOUR flesh. In short, the Spirit will confess the fact that Jesus has come to dwell in us. But just as importantly, the Spirit will reveal to us the Person of Jesus the Spirit will reveal to us the Christ who does abide in us. The Spirit will confess the fact that Christ is within, and the Spirit will reveal the Christ Who is within.
Can we possible grasp what John is getting at? He is saying that the Holy Spirit will always be in the process of revealing the reality of Christ WITHIN. The Holy Spirit will reveal the Christ who lives in me TO ME.
Paul said that this was what the Spirit of God did in him:
But when it pleased God .to reveal his Son in me. (Gal 1:15-16)
This revelation of Christ IN US was also the heart cry of Paul for the church in general:
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. (Gal 4:19)
In addition to this clearly stated purpose of the Spirit of revealing Christ IN US in the epistles of Paul, we also have all of the teaching in the gospel of John, chapters 14-16, where Jesus Himself continually stated that the purpose for the Holy Spirit would be to testify of Him (confess), and to guide us into all Truth, and to take all that was of Jesus and reveal it to believers. The continual teaching of the NT is that during this age the purpose of God the purpose for which the Holy Spirit was given is to reveal Jesus Christ, yes, TO US, but more importantly, to reveal Christ IN US.
CHRIST IN US is Christianity Christ is in us by His Spirit. And the purpose for which Jesus lives in us through His Spirit is so that Christ might be formed in us inwardly realized and known. And the further impact of this is that we might be, "formed together with Christ." It is upon this revelation of Christ in us that Jesus said, "I will build my church."
The revelation of Christ within the believer is exactly what John the apostle is stating the Spirit of God will always confess. The Holy Spirit will always confess or reveal Christ but not simply as a doctrine or a teaching. No. And neither will the Holy Spirit simply reveal TO US Christ as if He is off somewhere in heaven. No. Rather, the Holy Spirit will continually reveal Christ IN US the Holy Spirit will continually confess Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh the PRESENT reality of Christ within the believer.
Now, again, how important is this? It is the difference between the spirit of Truth and the spirit of error. For not only will the Holy Spirit always confess the Truth of Jesus Christ come in the flesh, but John states that antichrist will NOT confess that Truth.
It is always wise to note the manner in which God inspires something to be written. John states that the Holy Spirit will always confess Jesus is come in the flesh. We have seen a bit of the scope of what that means. But then note what he says regarding antichrist. John does not mention anything that antichrist WILL confess. Did you notice that? Rather, John tells us what antichrist will NOT confess: Antichrist will NOT confess what the Holy Spirit WILL confess: Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.
What John is teaching brings things down to ALL or NOTHING. According to John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, where the present reality of Christ in us is not our life, our fellowship, and our reason for being either as an individual or as a corporate body where there is an OMISSION of the present reality of Christ in people where HE is omitted as the centrality of Gods purpose this is not only evidence that the Holy Spirit is absent or grieved, but it is evidence that antichrist is at work.
Read it again: "Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist." The OMISSION is enough. The omission is where antichrist begins. Then, once a, "blank space," is created by omitting Christ, Satan can bring in OTHER teaching to substitute for Christ. What other teaching is somewhat irrelevant if the Truth is absent.
Did you ever notice that almost all the deceptions of the enemy begin with a neglect or omission of the Truth? Sure. The Bible says that Satan has BLINDED people. There is a condition created wherein people do not know the Truth indeed, they dont even KNOW TO KNOW the Truth. In other words, they are even debating or seeking. They are blind to any Truth that is outside of their present spiritual sight.
It is one thing to be blind and KNOW it I can cry out to God that I may SEE! But it is entirely another thing to be blind and NOT KNOW it. In that case, I will have no frame of reference for what it means to see. Indeed, I may even be convinced that the darkness I am in is actually light. Imagine being so utterly blind that you think you can see. There are people like that. Some profess to be born again.
The reason this deception is possible is ultimately found in US but that is another matter. But the power of omission is great in the hands of the enemy. For if the enemy can keep people blinded to the Truth then there is created in their understanding and experience a blank space a space that God intended to fill with the Truth of His Son. And once that blank space is created then it can be filled in by the enemy with a substitute for the reality of Christ within.
Satan is the great master of substitutes. Not surprisingly, the term, "antichrist," not only means, "against Christ," but, "a substitute for Christ." Sure. Satan does not need to get up and preach against Christ. The spirit of antichrist does not need to get up and openly deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. No. All that is necessary is to NOT confess that Jesus is come in the flesh. And then offer an alternative one that will seduce people away from live in Christ to, "another gospel."
You will note that John begins this passage with a warning and an exhortation.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Two exhortations here: Do NOT believe every spirit. And TEST the spirits. And then John gives the test. But despite this, many Christian people DO believe every spirit, and do NOT test anything. Worse, most have no clue about the test for Truth that God gives through John. In short, this passage is almost universally IGNORED by the church today.
I submit that the fact that most ignore passages such as this one from I John 4 is, in itself, evidence that the spirit of antichrist has already begun to blind many. The love of the Truth has become so cold today that many professing Christians do not even take heed of the clear warnings given in the Word of God. And the fact is, if we ignore the warnings and protections of God, we will eventually reap what we sow.
You will notice that once John warns us not to believe every spirit, that he actually tells us WHY. He says, "because many false prophets have gone out into the world." In other words, John is telling us that a predominant way in which the spirit of antichrist will omit the Truth and then substitute error -- is through the teaching and living of FALSE PROPHETS. A NT prophet is one who proclaims the Truth and thus all ministry falls under this heading, in one way or another. So just as God will most often use true ministers to preach the Truth, so it is that most often the spirit of antichrist will use people as well.
John is saying, "Do not believe every thing you hear just because someone claims to be called of God. There are MANY false prophets."
Paul warned of the same possibility:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Cor. 11:13-15)
An, "angel of light," looks like an angel or messenger from God. Thus, there is a disguise or counterfeit here and even many of these ministers of Satan may be themselves deceived. And yet we need not be concerned about whether we might be deceived by them. Why? Because John gives us the TEST FOR TRUTH. That test is the Person of Jesus Christ.
Go back to the test. Does a minister teach Christians that Christ is in them? Does he, as Paul, desire that, "Christ be formed," in believers? Does he teach HOW the Spirit of God does this work? Does a minister have as his entire goal and purpose, the revelation of Christ IN the believer which is absolutely equal to believers being BUILT UP in Christ which the Bible says is THE purpose for ALL ministry?
The Bible also tells us some of the things that will be preached by false ministers. For example, read what Paul is teaching right before the above quote passage of II Cor. 11:13-15, where Paul warns against ministers of Satan, who appear as messengers of light. He is talking about the false ministers taking occasion to GET MONEY from believers.
Funny how it so often comes back to this. Turn on Christian TV. You will never hear about Jesus Christ in us you will never hear even a message about the Truth of Jesus Christ in us. What you will hear are promises of how you can GET from God if you GIVE money to them. Money, money, and more money. This, despite all of the warnings in the Word of God. But again countless professing Christians completely ignore these warnings. They just go right ahead and do, "believe every spirit." They ignore the test given by John, and the words of Paul. And as a result, they are completely BLIND to the present reality of Christ within. They are living in the delusion of a false Christianity and another Jesus. They are being deceived by the spirit of antichrist.
The Real AntiChrist
What is antichrist? The term means more than, "against Christ." In fact, the literal meaning is, "the instead-of anointed one." In other words, "antichrist," is one who is presented as Gods anointed -- instead of Jesus. This is a substitute or counterfeit.
So antichrist is a counterfeit Christ presented INSTEAD OF the real Christ. But according to John, this counterfeit Christ will substitute for the present reality of Christ in the believer. The person who is deceived will be convinced they are walking in the Truth. But they will have no revelation of Jesus Christ. They will be living in a false Christianity.
Can we see, from this passage from I John 4 alone, that antichrist simply cannot be limited to a yet-to-be revealed religious leader, who will deceive many people in the last days? No. For John himself states this fact in this, and other passages:
And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (1 John 2:18)
People continue to look for an individual called, "the antichrist." But clearly, antichrist is spiritual in nature John says so. Thus, despite the fact that the spirit of antichrist has always had human vehicles some of them more prominent than others antichrist is NOT an individual person. Antichrist is spiritual in nature antichrist is the spirit of Satan building and presenting something INSTEAD OF Christ to human beings. And as we are seeing from John, Satan wants to present ANYTHING except the present reality of, "Jesus is come in the flesh."
The fact that the antichrist is NOT some individual person who will someday appear is made clear throughout scripture. But those who believe that antichrist is a person often turn to II Thes. 2 as proof:
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Th 2:3-4)
Who IS this, "man of sin?" Is this, "man of sin," an individual person? No. One reason is that no future individual man could be called, "THE man of sin." No present or yet to be born person could rightly be called, "THE son of perdition." These names are all encompassing." Regardless of how evil a person might be, or how much Satan might use them, these titles cannot apply to a person who will one day come on the scene and deceive many.
I submit that, "The man of sin," is a man that represents the fullness of what SIN IS IN MEN. Indeed, "the SON of perdition," is one who is born OUT OF perdition, or destruction. There is only ONE man to whom these names could apply. That man is ADAM. It was Adam through whom sin entered into the human race. Adam brought perdition upon the race of humanity. He alone could merit these titles.
There are two other names in this passage used to refer to this, "man of sin."
For the mystery of iniquity does already work .: and then shall that Wicked be revealed.
The same term is used in both these names: Lawless. The phrase, "for the mystery of iniquity does already work," can rightly be translated, "for the covered up lawlessness is already active." And the phrase, "then shall that wicked be revealed," could read, "then shall the lawless be uncovered."
We see two things here. First of all, the term LAWLESS refers not merely to acts of law-breaking. Rather, it refers to a NATURE. Through his sin, Adam became a LAWLESS creature. This means that yes, he did lawless ACTS, but more than that, he became a human being who was CONTRARY to God. Adam was responsible for the entire human race becoming, by nature, contrary to all righteousness and holiness. Man is a LAWLESS creature who shows his nature by doing lawless things.
The second thing we see is that John clearly goes out of his way to say that this, "man of sin," is an individual person. Instead, he is a collective or corporate man of sin a corporate man who represents the ultimate outcome of sin in man that of proclaiming himself as his own god. In short, the ultimate outcome of sin in humanity is that the lawless nature eventually is uncovered it will work itself out and be made fully manifest to where humanity openly and without shame proclaims themselves as their own god.
This, "man of sin," about which John writes, is a corporate man a corporate body of people who through their own personal unbelief are built into this collective representation of all that opposes God. The spirit of antichrist has been building this corporate man for 2000 years. For most of that time, it has been a, "mystery of lawlessness," that is, not formed together enough to be seen or used of Satan. But at some point before the second coming, this, "wicked" this lawlessness will come to fruition. This, "man of sin," that is being built will come to fullness and in doing so will be revealed be clearly seen.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now restrains will restrain, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. (2 Th 2:5-9)
Now, having said all of that, we must again realize that this MAN OF SIN is the product of the spirit of antichrist. In other words, this is a corporate man that is offered INSTEAD of Christ. In short, rather than the NEW MAN which is Christ in us, this man of sin which is the fullness of the OLD MAN in Adam is presented AS that new man; instead of the new man in Christ.
This is clearly seen if we read on. Paul says that this, "man of sin," "Opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. What IS the temple of God? Would Paul the apostle call the temple in Jerusalem, or some supposed future temple, "the temple of God?" I submit that he would never do so. God called Paul to show that the entire religious structure that centered around the physical temple was no longer valid under the New Covenant. The temple in Jerusalem was no longer the temple of God. Rather, Paul said to believers, "YOU are the temple of God." (I Cor. 3:17 and II Cor. 6:16)
The temple of God in the NT is always the church the body of Christ. Thus, this man of sin is to sit WITHIN as part of indeed, as having dominion OVER the true temple of God, which is the body of Christ.
Now, the picture here is inescapable. We have already seen that Johns test for Truth states that the Holy Spirit will always confess the present reality of Christ in the believer, that is, will always confess that Jesus IS come in the flesh the Holy Spirit will always reveal the Christ who dwells in us. But here we have, not Christ, but the man of sin sitting in the temple of God which is the believer, both individually and corporately. In other words, instead of Christ sitting in the true temple of God and living and reigning and ruling, we have this man of sin doing so. Is this not a shocking picture of those who reject Christ as their life in favor of ANOTHER LIFE the Adam life? This is a picture, not of Jesus as our Lord, but of the fallen nature as our lord. Yet all presented AS true Christianity!
There have always been only TWO MEN Adam and Christ. In fact, Christ is called, "The Last Adam." From the start, Satan has wanted to exalt Adam instead of Christ. This was the temptation in the garden the suggestion was, "you can be as god." And once you anoint Adam instead of Christ, you have the makings of an, "instead-of anointed one," which is the literal meaning of the term, "anti-christ." If Satan can substitute the corporate Adam for Christ as the one who sits in the temple of God, the church, then the entire basis of Christianity is no longer Christ. It is Adam and Adam is, "the man of sin." Satan will have his ground upon which to work and abide.
Here we see the ultimately outcome of Satan; the ultimate outcome of the spirit of antichrist. It is man natural, religious man -- sitting in the temple of God, sitting within the body of Christ. This is a man-centered Christianity. This is not, "Jesus is come in the flesh," but rather, it is flesh Adam -- taking the place of Jesus.
Want more evidence that this is what Paul is revealing. Read what Paul clearly states is the cause of this, "man of sin," coming to where it can be revealed. He says that, "there must come a falling away FIRST." He is telling us that an accelerated falling away is gong to RESULT IN, "the man of sin being revealed." In other words, this man of sin is built up and hardened and able to be finally manifested as the result of the falling away or apostasy. The apostasy is said to reveal this man of sin the apostasy brings him into view. It is almost as if he was already there but the falling away completes him and enables him to take his seat in the temple of God AS GOD. He sits symbolically in the Body of Christ as if he is lord.
Paul the apostle is telling us all that BEFORE Christ returns there is going to be a highly accelerated falling away from Christ and that this is going to bring about the fullness of what antichrist has been building for two-thousand years: The man of sin. This corporate man of sin will deceive many, to the point where it will succeed as a counterfeit for Christ in us the man of sin will be the flesh, the natural man the Adam nature presented as a religious substitute for Christ. He will sit in the true temple of God, proclaiming himself as his own god not necessarily openly in those words but that will be his confession. He will oppose by his very presence the reality of Jesus Christ in Gods people. Thus, we have TWO MEN: Adam vs. Christ. Where is our faith?
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (2 Th 2:8)
The only real way to destroy the effectiveness of a counterfeit is to bring in the genuine article. The only way to destroy a false Christ and a false Christianity is for Christ Himself to come. It works that way NOW. How much more THEN? This, "man of sin," is not destroyed by armies. He is destroyed by the Truth (Word of His mouth) and by LIGHT by the very presence of Christ.
The protection of professing Christians against the deception of antichrist is KNOWING JESUS CHRIST. Knowing the Truth. Having light. It is going to be that in the end that matters. This brings us full circle. John states, "The Holy Spirit will always reveal CHRIST IN US." The antichrist will offer a substitute.
Ask yourself: What is 666?
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Rev 13:18)
6 is the number of man fallen man. The bible says so. Since 7 is the number of God that of spiritual perfection 6 shows that, "all men have sinned and fallen short," of the glory of God shown by a 6 which falls short of 7. That is man as a creature. He is a 6. God is a 7. Symbolically.
So what is 666? Man complete in his sin and independence from God. This again is the collective MAN OF SIN. The number of the man of sin hardened and complete in himself is 666. And this man is like a beast. He is flesh.
Revelation 13 says that 666 is the number of the beast described there but that this is likewise the number of man. In other words, the beast is this same collective man, who is in rebellion against God. But you will also note that this same beast is at first said to have 7 heads. But one of these 7 heads is wounded to death, but then seems to come back to life. In other words, this 7 headed beast is now really a 6 headed beast. The 7th head is dead, but fakes being alive. Is this not representative of the fact that Adam originally had God Himself as his HEAD, but then sinned unto death, and as a result, became his OWN head. But that ever since, Adam has tried to act as if he is still alive and religiously, alive unto God? A beast that had 7 heads, where one died, reducing him to a 6 headed creature now trying to run his own life this fits perfectly into the man of sin. The man of sin is like a beast Jesus is not in him. But he will try to be religious from out of himself he will act like he has 7 heads. And all of this is summarized by saying that the number of this beast is the number of a man 666. Man in his complete rebellion against God.
The spirit of antichrist presents Adam collective Adam as a substitute for Christ in us. The old man in Adam is dressed up as if he has 7 heads again through religion that is about Christ, and sat in the temple of God. This is what antichrist does. It has always been the purpose of Satan.
Real apostasy is not merely a falling away FROM Christ but always entails falling away TO a substitute. Any substitute will do the result will be the same. As noted earlier, those who truly fall away from Christ will comprise the man of sin.
To fall away from Christ to revolt from Christ this demands that a person had LIGHT and TRUTH. You cannot fall away from a Christ you never knew. But having said that, this does not demand that a person was actually saved. No. It simply demands that a person had enough to be saved, but refused. In short, we are not talking about people who did LOSE their salvation. Rather, we are talking about those who did REFUSE salvation.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
According to John, THIS is the basis for condemnation: That I had light, but loved darkness RATHER than that light. Why? Because I did not want to have myself exposed by that light. I would not see or confess my sin, and thus, my need for Christ.
You will note two things proven by this verse: First, it is possible for God to give me light before I am saved. That should not be surprising, for I have to have SOME light to see Christ is my Savior. I have to have SOME light to understand that I need to be saved by Christ from my sin. Secondly, we see that it is possible to refuse to embrace the light God gives it is possible to love darkness RATHER than light. If I do, I stand condemned.
To speak to our present point those who comprise the man of sin are those who were given light. They knew enough to embrace Christ. But instead, they fell away from Him. They stood in the light and conviction of God had a taste of the heavenly gift, and had their minds enlightened, enough to make them accountable but fell away FROM Christ TO what amounts to their SELF life. These are the man of sin.
So often people who refuse to embrace the light God gives turn out to be very religious in nature. Many do not seem to atheists or agnostics. Rather, they either champion, or come under, some terrible heresy or some substitute for Christ. This is the case with so many high profile false teachers today. Why do they teach such deception? Because they are deceived not by accident, or as a victim but they are deceived because they loved darkness rather than the light God gave them. Having done that, they walk in a Christianity that is entirely upon the wrong basis the basis of the Adam nature, rather than upon Christ.
Now, there is no question that many born again believers will also be deceived by this end time man of sin who sits within the body of Christ. But I do not believe we can make a case for someone who is truly IN Christ being part of this man of sin. No. Having said that, however, the consequences of being deceived by the spirit of antichrist will be great. We need to KNOW HIM. That is the only solution.
According to John 3:19, the pivot point for salvation is to come into the light that God gives and be exposed as a person who is a sinner without hope. The motive for refusing to do so is because your, "deeds are evil," and you dont want to be exposed. But if you think about this necessity described in John 3:19, we are really talking about the essential of coming to the Cross of Jesus Christ.
The event of our salvation if it is real means we must LOSE everything about ourselves into Christ so that He can become our life. This is what it means to come to the Cross of Christ. Of course, at first most of us understand this in principle only it is only later than we realize what it really means. It is later that God seeks to work out the reality of the Cross into our actual relationship with Christ. This is accomplished if we will pick up our Cross and LOSE our life for His sake if we will, then we will find, discover, and realize the reality of Christ as our life.
Now, you will note that the work of the personal Cross in the experience of the believer the picking up of our Cross you will note that this results in the forming of Christ within. We find HIM we find true life. Thus, the work of the Cross is certainly a fundamental way in which the Spirit of God, "confesses Jesus is come in our flesh." Pick up your Cross and lose your life, and the confession of Jesus TO you will become a living confession of Christ IN YOU.
But Satan has always offered man the things of God i.e., that which is found ONLY in Christ -- WITHOUT the necessity of the Cross; without Christ in us. In fact, Satan offers man ANOTHER LIFE usually mans OWN life.
Sure. Here again we see TWO MEN. Again -- what we have here is really TWO MEN. On the one hand, we have those who have relinquished themselves into the hands of Christ, and found His life. This is the new man the body of Christ. On the other hand, we have those who have NOT relinquished themselves into the hands of Christ but have saved themselves for their own purposes. This is the, "man of sin. This man of sin, however, professes to be of the new man corporately, "he," sits within the temple of god the true Body of Christ. This is nothing more than another explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares.
If Satan can get people to deny the necessity of the personal Cross, and deny the need to lose our self-ownership to Christ as Lord, then everything else will succeed in his diabolical plan. For once the Cross is neglected and made needless, the natural life is saved and from that point, every aspect of our Christianity will be based on US and our NATURAL MAN, instead of upon Christ. Draw this out to the ultimate outcome and you will have a MAN OF SIN instead of the new man in Christ.
Jesus is Come in the Flesh
This simple TEST FOR TRUTH given to us by the apostle John is the difference between Christ in us, and the spirit of antichrist. The Spirit of God will ALWAYS be revealing, yes, the fact that Jesus is come to abide in us. But the Spirit of God will always be revealing the Person of Christ who is come and is living in us. Fundamental to this, "confession," of the Holy Spirit will be the necessity of the Cross without which Jesus Christ cannot come to dwell in us as our life.
But the spirit of antichrist will seek to blind professing Christians to the reality of Christ in us, and to Gods purpose to form Christ in us. And then Satan will offer a substitute a counterfeit Christianity. Any counterfeit will do. But that counterfeit will carry with make the personal Cross unnecessary. This will leave professing Christians living on the basis of themselves instead of upon Christ as their life.
Right now, the man of sin is being built. The man of sin is going to be ultimately comprised of those who have hardened themselves against the Truth they are those who have, "fallen away," from Christ. And yet this man of sin will sit completely within the temple of God and claim that they are the expression of God Himself. So convincing will this deception be that unless we know Jesus Christ we might be deceived. The only way to know error is to know the Truth.
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