In 1 John 2:22-3:3, the Apostle John says this:
“Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that confesseth the Son hath the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which ye heard from the beginning. If that which ye heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise which he promised us, even the life eternal. These things have I written unto you concerning them that would lead you astray. And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any one teach you; but as his anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in him. And now, my little children, abide in him; that, if he shall be manifested, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him.
Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
In this passage, John teaches on differences between those who confess faith in the gospel and antichrists, the confessors’ defense against antichrists, their duty to abide, and their directive toward awe.
In verses 22-25, John explains the differences between antichrists and confessors of the gospel. He begins by asking the rhetorical question of, “who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” Obviously, he is saying that the liar is the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Now, what does this mean? There are liars who do not deny that Jesus is the Christ. Well, in the context of this passage, John has been talking about those who went out from his audience, and who oppose Christ by speaking lies about Him. Therefore, when John says “the liar,” he means that, between the two groups, his audience and the antichrists, the liars are the antichrists.
But what does it mean that Jesus is the Christ? The title, “Christ,” comes from the Greek word, christos, which comes from the Hebrew word, meshiach, from which we get “messiah.” It literally means “anointed one,” and alludes to the Old Testament Israelite practice of “anointing,” or pouring oil onto, those who were specially set apart to either be a prophet, a priest, or a king. As the Christ, Jesus is the Anointed One, who was anointed by the Father to be the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet, He proclaimed the gospel both in His earthly life, and through His apostles and prophets. As a Priest, He made the ultimate sacrifice of Himself, being God, on the cross to appease the wrath and justice of God in the place of hell-deserving sinners, and serves as the only Mediator between God and man. As a King, He rules over the universe, having received all authority in heaven and on earth.
Thus, John is saying, the liar is the one who denies that Jesus is the Supreme Prophet, Priest, and King, being both God and man. Furthermore, John labels the liar as the antichrist, and calls him this because he denies both God the Father and God the Son, or the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is it true that the one who denies the Son also denies the Father? John answers: whoever denies the Son does not have the Father, and the one who confesses, or acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
In verse 24, John commands his audience to let the message that they heard from the beginning of their Christian life to make its home in them. Then, he promises them that, if it makes its home in them, then they will make their homes in the Son and in the Father. He finishes this section by implying that this is the promise for those who let the gospel make its home in them, and make their homes in the Son and the Father: eternal life. This refers not only to eternal in duration, since everyone will live forever, but eternal in its quality, as it is true life, which is life lived by knowing God intimately.
In verses 26-27, John describes the confessors’ defense against the antichrists. He begins by telling his audience that the things he has just said were about those who were trying to deceive them — the deniers, antichrists, and liars. However, he goes on, his audience has an anointing that they received from Christ that makes its home in them, and that, as a result, they have no need for anyone to teach them. What is this lack of need for teaching referring to? Well, in the context, John has been talking about teaching regarding the fact that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the Son of God, and that He has a Father, God Himself. Also, since John himself is teaching his audience, while at the very same time, he tells them that they have no need for anyone to teach them — implying that he thought that they needed him to teach them — it makes sense to conclude that what John means is that his audience does not need anyone to teach them those things which are essential to the gospel, and which are necessary consequences of the truth of the gospel. However, John goes on to say that Christ’s anointing teaches them about all things, is true, is not a lie, and has taught them to make their homes in Him, so that they do. By saying this, he is implying that the anointing is absolutely essential for one to be taught any spiritual truth of God’s Word. Also, he is implying that this anointing defends them against the lies of the antichrists.
In verses 28-29, John presents the confessors’ duty to abide. He begins by commanding his weak spiritual children to make their homes in Christ, so that, when He appears, they may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Then, he explains what he means by making their homes in Christ by telling them, if they know that Christ is righteous, then they know that everyone who practices righteousness has been born from Him spiritually, and, consequently, is one who is born from Him spiritually because he lives as one who has been born from Him spiritually. Thus, John is implying that making one’s home in Christ means practicing righteousness because one has been given the righteous nature of his Father in heaven, and His Son, who is righteous.
In chapter 3, verses 1-3, John describes the confessors’ directive toward awe. He begins by commanding his audience to see how great a love the Father has bestowed on them, that they would be called children of God. Not only are they called children of God, he adds, but they actually are children of God. In other words, they are to see what a great love the Father has for them in the facts that He has called them His children, and that He has turned them into His children. Because of the fact that he and his audience are children of God, he continues, the world, who are not children of God, does not know them because they did not know Him. In other words, the world does not recognize the children of God as children of God because they did not recognize Christ as the Son of God. What’s the connection between the two? Both practice righteousness because they have been born from God, and have righteous human natures. Just as the world did not recognize the righteousness of Christ as an indication that He was the Son of God, they do not recognize the righteousness of children of God as an indication that they are children of God.
In verse 2, John moves on to the future of children of God by saying that, even now, they are children of God, but what they will be has not appeared yet. However, he says, they know that when Christ appears, they will be like Him, because they will see Him just as He is. How does this logic work? What John is implying is that, to see Christ just as He is, one must be like Him. How is He? He is holy, holy, holy. John says that this knowledge that children of God have that they will be like Christ when He appears because they will see Him just as He is is hope, and that everyone who has this hope fixed on Christ purifies, or cleanses, himself, just as Christ is pure. How is Christ pure? By being like His Father, or by being righteous.
So, do you deny that Jesus is the Supreme Prophet, Priest, and King, as the God-man who died for our sins, and came back to life, or do you acknowledge Him as God’s Supreme Prophet that you believe, your High Priest who died for your sins and came back to life, and your King that you serve?
Are you letting the gospel of the God-man, His death for your sins, and His bodily resurrection from the dead make its home in you?
Does Christ’s anointing teach you about all things, and has it taught you to make your home in Him?
Are you practicing righteousness?
Have you seen how great a love the Father has bestowed on you, that you would be called a child of God, and that you would be a child of God?
Do you recognize those who practice righteousness as children of God?
Do you have the hope of knowing that, when Christ appears, you will be like Him because you will see Him just as He is?
Do you purify yourself, just as Christ is pure?
Do you understand the gospel?
The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13