“Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either” (1 John 2:23, NKJV).
What comes to mind when you think of antichrist? Perhaps a mighty demonic being or a rival to the throne of Jesus, such as described by Paul to the Thessalonians: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:9–10).
John, however, has spoken to us of many antichrists. Yet whether singular or plural, they are all cut from the same cloth and present us with the same challenge in our walk with Christ and work for Him in this world. That challenge has to do with love of the truth and acting upon it. At stake are matters of life and death.
John addresses believers as truth-holders. “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” (1 John 2:21). John distinguishes truth and falsehood, what proceeds from the mouth of God and what is purported to be truth but is a lie. That’s why John will later urge us to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
How do we test the spirits? How do know truth? By holding fast to the revealed word of God, which is truth (John 17:14-19). At the heart of that truth is He who is the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ the Lord. To deny Him is to be left without hope and without God in this world. It is to be left without recourse for forgiveness of sin and propitiation from the wrath of God, on our own without Advocate before the judgment seat of God (1 John 2:2).
Denial of truth characterizes the spirit of the antichrist. “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). To be a liar is to be a denier, thus calling God a liar, a familiar tactic of the evil one from the Garden of Eden. To embrace falsehood is to renounce fellowship with the Father and the Son.
John, however, does not leave us with a negative. He issues an assurance to those whose faith is genuine and whose hope is founded. “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23).
All roads do not lead to home. As John emphatically stated in his Gospel account, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
How can you be equipped to discern the counterfeits and scams of the evil one?