Immediately the Church was born the devil brought the battle straight to God's people. It is the battle for the truth, the devil came to snatch the truth from the Church. He raises men to pervert the truth. The apostles were faced with the challenge to silent the upheaval and confusion rising from the attack against the truth. In the epistles of John, John tried to combat the perversion of the truth.
"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." (1John 2:18-19).
That which is of the truth would remain in the truth and that which is not of the truth may hide his true self for a while but would surely manifest. Many are afraid that they would mistakenly fall into deception. But according to John one cannot mistakenly fall into deception. If deception is in you it would surely manifest but if you are of the truth the truth is strong enough to keep you. This means, for as long as you want to remain in the truth you would remain in the truth, it is a matter of where your heart lies.
The reason why many Christians fall into deception is because they never embrace the truth with all of their heart. They believe the gospel because it sounds logical or because they were compelled to believe it. They just go along with the crowd and enter into the religious life. But they cannot pretend forever, the deception in them would surely manifest. And those who are of the truth would be differentiated from those who are not of the truth.
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth." (1John 2:20-21).
Wow, such faith. This is one thing I admire about the apostles they had such faith in God and in the Holy Spirit. John is not afraid that these believers do not know the truth. He is not scared that the devil would easily deceive them and get them confused. He has more faith in the Spirit of truth to keep them in the truth than the devil to bring them into deception. Many Christian have more faith in the devil than in God. They believe the devil can easily deceive them, bring them into sin, and cause them to fall. But they don't believe God has a greater power to keep them in the truth and make them righteous. So they try to help God and they fall into the works of the flesh.
John had so much faith and confidence in the Spirit of truth that reside in the Christian.
John didn't point to some kind of method that would help God keep them in the truth. Neither did he try to instruct them in the truth. Instead he simply said, "you know the truth and no lie is of the truth." He was confident that they can differentiate the truth from lie. He was confident that the Spirit of truth in them is well capable of revealing the truth and keeping them in the truth.
"Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life." (1John 2:22-25).
John believes that as long as you believe in the Christ then you have no problem, for you would surely emerge victorious in the battle for the truth. John knew he didn't have to do anything to help God, for as long as the believer abides in Christ then the case is settled. Abide in Christ and you would surely emerge victorious; you would attain eternal life. To John it is as simple as that. Faith is simple, it is unbelief that complicates things. Those who didn't believed in the Christ whole heartedly; who exalt logic and rationality above Christ, who value their idea and tradition more than Christ, who exalt one thing or another above Christ and had failed to make Jesus Lord and Supreme in all things. These are the ones that would be deceive because the seed of deception already lies in them.
"These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him." (1John 2:26-27).
There are a thousand ways John should have approached this issue but he chose the way of faith and trust in God. In dealing with the issue of truth and the battle against heresy many great Christian leaders and fathers have tried to construct a box for the truth and point the people to that box. Ignatius tried to construct a hierarchical system of bishops that would be a custodian of the truth. And then he points the people to this man-made system. The early Church fathers gathered some of the writings of the apostles, use it to construct a box for the truth and pointed believers to it.
Others pointed to the Universal Church, apostolic covering, pastors, doctrine, theology etc. All these are box made to contain the truth but the truth is not a thing that can be contained in a box. The truth is a person and this person transcend any box man can build. This person is Lord and rather than pointing to man-made boxes John pointed to the person. Those who abide in Christ would know that truth and would not be deceived. It is not those who have the Bible, or those who are under certain bishops or churches. There are many who has bible but are in deception.
John believe that as long as you are truly of Christ and you abide in Christ then you know the truth. Christ is the truth and he is in us, he is very much capable of revealing himself as long as we abide in him. Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned f from the Father comes to Me." (John 6:45).
They shall be taught by the Father, He shall teach them Himself and they shall come to the truth. John didn't say you know the truth and you would remain in the truth because you have the Bible, you have bishops, a great Bible teacher, a accurate doctrine, a pastors, the pope or an apostolic covering. But you know the truth and you would remain in the truth because you are born of the truth and the Spirit of the truth reside in you.
Look nowhere else, the way to emerge victorious in the battle of the truth is to learn to abide in Christ. We need not to teach Christians to know the truth but to teach them to trust and abide in Christ. A Christian is deceived not because he doesn't know the truth but because he doesn't trust and abide in God. We must stop focusing on trying to teach the Christian the truth and start focusing on teaching them to walk with God, to submit to Him, to be apprehended by Him, to exalt Christ above all and abide in him. The truth is not a thing that we teach people but it is a person. Christ is the truth and once we are apprehended by the truth he would keep us.
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