Thursday, 9 April 2020
These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 1 John 2:26
John’s words now turn to an explanation of his words of the previous verses by saying, “These things I have written to you.” This is most especially concerning those who would teach the false doctrines of antichrist (especially verses 18-23) and how to avoid their false teaching. The preeminent thought of his words was that of the Father/Son relationship between God and Jesus Christ.
John’s words clearly and unambiguously state that unless one has the Son, he does not have the Father. Denying the Son is the doctrine of antichrist, and it is what John is referring to. He has written these things as a warning “concerning those who try to deceive you.”
The word “try” is inserted by the translators, and it would have been better to leave it out. Though John will show in the next verse that believers are secure in their relationship with Christ, it does not mean that they cannot be deceived.
The term “deceive” here indicates someone who would actively “seduce” or “lead astray” others who are in the congregation. John uses a present participle which more accurately says, “those who are leading you astray.” This is the constant habit of such false teachers. They not only teach unsound doctrine, but they continue to do so. They are always leading people astray. This is because they do not have either the Father or the Son. As such, they belong to the devil, and it is his modus operandi to deceive.
John’s words seem to indicate that there was, even in the church he was addressing, those who were attempting to, but had not yet, led members away from the sound gospel. His epistle then is not only an attempt to clarify and instill doctrine, but it is a plea to hold to it and to not be led astray by people – either in the church or in another congregation – who were actively seducing believers with false teachings.
Life application: It is important to note, especially in today’s world, that these deceivers aren’t just waiting in the shadows of the church, but are out in the open teaching heresies, false doctrines, and watered-down truths right on the internet, and even on Christian television. It cannot be stressed enough that if you don’t read and study your Bible, you are setting yourself up for manipulation by such people. How can you determine the truth or a lie, if you don’t know how to properly analyze verses which are thrown out at you by deceivers?
Understanding the context of a verse is absolutely essential to understanding the meaning of that verse. But a false teacher knows that most people don’t know the context of the verse, and therefore he can casually toss out any verse and claim his use of it is under the authority of “the Word of God.” But… this is exactly what Satan did when he tempted Jesus. He used the Scriptures in an attempt to mislead Jesus. Fortunately, Jesus knows the Scriptures far better than the devil, being the very Author of them.
It cannot be stated enough – read your Bible, study your Bible, and remember your Bible so that you will be safe from the active and persistent attacks of false teachers who would lead you astray for their own evil intentions.
Lord God, we have been far too negligent in our personal study time in Your word. Give us the wise discernment to understand that the rest of the movie on the DVD can wait, the baseball scores will be posted tomorrow, the playtime can be ended earlier, and so on. Whatever the distraction – it is not nearly as important as studying Your precious word. May we take this to heart today. Amen.