1 John 2:18-22
“Little children, it is the last time. And just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have risen up, from which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us. But you have an anointing of the Holy One, and you know all things. I have written unto you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies Jesus is the Christ? He who denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist.”
Here in John’s epistles we do not see so much of a description of apostasy but the confirmation of apostates in the first epistle and how to deal with them in the second epistle.
All apostates deny the truth while trying to convince others they can do what Christ did or preserve what He did. This is what makes them apostate. It is also how we know we are in the last days. There are many apostates in the Church today who deny Christ. But, then again, since the end of the first century, there have always been those who deny Christ but not His name.
When the nineteenth verse states: ‘they went out from us, but they were not of us...’ it is not referring to the local church, nor is it referring to loss of salvation. It would be entirely inconsistent for it to refer to loss of salvation as so many verses throughout scripture make it plain that one who is truly saved can not lose their salvation regardless of what they do or others may say. Likewise, it would also render the text nonsensical if the apostle were stating that these apostates had departed from the local church, although it is likely true they had. The apostle John was referring to the greater picture, that they had departed from the doctrines that are essential to salvation, they were no longer identifying themselves with the risen Savior. If they had been truly saved John reasons, they would have remained in the faith, holding to a conservative viewpoint on areas such as sin, repentance, faith and forgiveness. If they had held to a conservative, traditional view on these and other crucial areas, they would have remained, perhaps not at the fellowship of saints to where John was writing, but they would have remained in the sphere of general fellowship that all believers have. It was convenient for the believers in fact, for the departure of the apostates made it easy to identify who was truly saved.
Now, after reading verse twenty in the KJV, I was curious to know what the word ‘unction’ means. It sounds like “chrisma” when transliterated from the original Greek, and probably is the root for “Charisma”. It means unguent, ointment, or anything smeared on. The Levite priests had a special ointment that they would pour over their heads, so in this sense, they had an “unction”. As believer-priests, we christians also have an unction, an unction from the Spirit. This pouring on of the Spirit that all saints receive at the moment of salvation is what allows us to know all things. This is something that the apostates who depart from us do not have, they do not know all things especially things that pertain to spiritual matters.
John did not write unto them because his “children” did not know the truth, as some were disposed to believe. Rather, it was the fact that they did know the truth that he wrote unto them. No lie is of the truth he warns them. However reasonable a doctrine may sound, if it is not of the truth, it is a lie. Many unsound doctrines are formulated sincerely and earnestly by well-meaning teachers of the word. But these doctrines are not the sincere milk of the word. And so believers must be careful and discerning when reading their Bibles and should they come across a difficult passage, it is best to prayerfully meditate over it for a period of time before coming to a conclusion about what it is teaching. Even more importantly, we must be careful when we read books written by men, books that support a theology or philosophy irrespective of what school of theology the author may belong to. Theologically, I describe myself as a Dispensationalist and eschew both Calvinism and Arminianism as systems of soteriological thought. However, I still must be on my guard when reading theology books written by Dispensational authors. In the same manner, I can glean many things from both Calvinists and Arminians as long as I keep my distance from their views on the doctrines of grace. I must remind myself that no lie is of the truth. Henceforth, no theological system is entirely free (although some are more free than others or else I would not consider myself a Dispy) of producing unsound, untruthful doctrines that can harm the body of Christ.
John asks the rhetorical question “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” It is meant to make his readers think for a moment about who could be more of a liar than one who denies Jesus as Christ. That’s right, no one is more of a liar than the one who denies the Lord. He who denies Christ is an antichrist, one who assails the Lord while professing His kinship. He does not only deny the Lord, but he denies God the Father who sent Him also.