TO DISCERN THE WORKS OF EVIL SPIRITS
IV. Discern the spirits
b. The spirit of the antichrist
The coming of Christ in the flesh was to accomplish the plan of God to save. The Bible clearly says that the word became flesh (Jn. 1:14). This means when Christ was on earth He was a man (Acts 2:22; 1 Tim. 2:5). Towards the latter period of the early church, a school of thought proposed against this very core of God’s plan, suggesting that God being absolutely divine could not have been trapped in the corrupt flesh. They did not believe in the incarnated Christ being God. Thus, the proponents rendered not only the faith of many ineffective but also tainted the complete goodness of God to save.
This is a detrimental concept. It split the church into two opposing camps, which can never be reconciled. According to John, they were the antichrists (1 Jn. 2:18–19) who had gone out from the church. They were no longer of the same fold, though they might not be physically separated from the church. The emphasis here is clear: “they were not of us”. This is a bold pronouncement against the antichrists. Equally true is that they had cut themselves off from the body of Christ by adopting a conflicting doctrine.
John did not talk about the possibility of their return to the fold. It is virtually impossible for anyone who has gone out of the truth to return. Rather, he stressed that “none of them were of us”. There must be a clear distinction drawn between the church of God and the antichrists. There must be no deliberate procrastination and compromise. This is to safeguard the church, and protect her from being infiltrated by twisted beliefs. It is imperative to understand that the devil would not simply forego the foothold that he has gained in the church.
This admonition was given on the ground that it is not the work of man. The work was propelled by the spirit of the antichrist (1 Jn. 4:3). If the work of God is mingled with that of the spirit of the antichrist, it would only be a matter of time until the whole church becomes damaged beyond recognition. The followers of this erroneous teaching had long had the truth they had embraced snatched away from them. They had lost all. Most sadly, they had even lost the Lord Himself (1 Jn. 2:21f). They had no part in the salvation of the Lord. So, whoever proposes that Christ has not come in the flesh is dictated by the spirit of the antichrist.
In the modern day, the subtlety of the trick of the Satan is not about denying that Christ came in the flesh. It is in the claim that the flesh of Christ is different from the flesh of man. This understanding contradicts the work of Christ. Christ being a Man, in essence the same flesh as we are, has overcome death, an example that all believers can follow. To say that His humanity is not the same as ours is to deny the work of Christ in the flesh. This message is not the work of the Holy Spirit but of antichrist.
[To Be Continued]