Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

“Remaining” as a Test of Authentic Faith - 1 John 2:18-27

Having just taught that real believers love what God loves, John then gives another test by which to identify authentic believers. It is “the test of remaining.” John explains this test first by giving an example of those who had not remained. He then paints a contrasting picture of those who do remain.

In verses 18-19, John identifies those who did not remain. Although they had accepted the truth of Christ at some point, they had now denied that Christ was the “Anointed” One. These “deceivers” (v. 26) were likely docetists (pronounced “dawsetists”) who believed that the divine Son of God came and united himself with a mere human man named Jesus, but only temporarily. This false belief denied John 1:33 where John describes the Son of God, who would baptize with the Holy Spirit, as the One upon whom the Spirit “descends and remains.” So those who were “against Christ (antichrist)” were those who denied that Jesus was and remains the Son of the heavenly Father. Ironically, just as these deceivers believed that the Son of God did not remain in the body of Jesus, these deceivers did not remain a part of the body of Christ, the Church.

John then paints a picture of those who remained in Christ. First, they had a remaining knowledge of the truth that Jesus is the Anointed One of God (24). Second, they themselves had an anointing that remained. This anointing likely referred to the Spirit that remained in them, just as the Spirit had remained on Christ (27).

Therefore, to be a true believer is to remain in the body, convinced that Jesus is the Anointed One. This enduring belief is possible only by means of the Spirit who remains in you, leads you into all truth, and teaches you to remain in Christ. Share the spiritual importance of “remaining” with your teen today.


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